Dry December a fitting finish to a dry 2011

COLAC has had its driest December in more than a decade, capping off a drier than average year.

Colac received 10.4 millimetres of rain in December, the driest since 2000, and 692.2 millimetres in 2011.

The city would have 51 millimetres in an average December, and 813 millimetres in an average year.

Colac’s Allan Halliwell cooled down with his grandsons Archer, 3, and Isaac, 18 months, at Lorne foreshore. Hordes of tourists made their way to the beachside town to bring in 2012.

Fourteen of the past 15 years have been drier than average.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Michael Efron said the south-west was one of the driest parts of the state in December.

“The absence of westerly winds resulted in much of south-west Victoria recording below average rainfall, especially near Colac and down to Cape Otway it was very much below average,” he said.

Colac rain watchers recorded levels similar to the official figures from the Colac Otway Shire Council’s office in Colac.

Alf Wilhelms had 13.5 millimetres in his gauge at his Colac home.

“The long term average is about 50 millimetres; that gives an indication of just how dry that was,” he said.

Colac’s Evan Robb recorded 47 points, which is 11.3 millimetres, while Colac’s Ed Cole registered 43 points or 10.75 millimetres.

The bureau’s observation station at Mount Gellibrand recorded 21 millimetres in December.

The December total was 40.8 millimetres at Dorset Farm at Weeaproinah in the Otways

Weather enthusiast Frank Minchinton said it was the lowest December total since 1983, when there was 26.2 millimetres of rain

Mr Minchinton monitors rain at the Otway property.

Mount Gellibrand was above the yearly average of 545.7 millimetres, with 645.8 millimetres in 2011.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Dr Harvey Stern said the difference between the two averages was because the Mount Gellibrand site had only been recording weather for 10 years.

“The shire office has been going for more than 100 years,” he said.

“Which shows that even though it’s been a wet year, it hasn’t even been quite the long-term average.”

Mr Robb said the rain total for the year at his property was 3031 points, or 757.75 millimetres.

“We’re nearly seven inches down on last year,” he said.

Rain recorded at Ed Cole’s Colac property was also down for the year.

The total figure was 763 millimetres, and it 926.5 millimetres in 2010.

Weeaproinah registered 2000.4 millimetres, slightly above the 62-year average of 1983.9 millimetres.

Meanwhile, Dr Stern said Colac’s maximum average temperature for the year was 17.9 degrees, 0.3 degrees below average.

The maximum temperature for 2011 was 35.9 degrees, recorded in January.

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