Colac endures dry start to 2012

COLAC and district has had a dry start to the year because of a La Nina weather pattern.

The rain gauge at the Colac Otway Shire Council offices recorded 29.6 millimetres of rain in January, below the long-term average of 41.1 millimetres.

Colac rain watcher Alf Wilhelms recorded 31.5 millimetres at his property.

“That’s quite a bit under the long-term average,” he said.

“But of course in January, we don’t expect an awful lot; last year was exceptional.”

More than 150 millimetres fell on Colac in January 2011.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s station at Mount Gellibrand, north-east of Colac, recorded 21.6 millimetres, below the January average of 39.4 millimetres.

The biggest fall in the month was 10.8 millimetres on January 11.

Bureau climatologist Dr Harvey Stern said Victoria was experiencing a La Nina weather pattern.

“We have a weakening La Nina, and under La Nina and we get a lot of easterlies,” he said.

“In south-west Victoria that normally means it’s a bit dryer than normal.”

Lake Colac’s level dropped in the month.

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority figures show the lake’s surface is 115.52 metres above sea level.

The authority measured the lake at 115.72 metres above sea level in December.

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