WITH just a week of March left, Ballarat is set to equal an all-time low rainfall record for the month, set more than 90 years ago.
So far this month, only 2.2mm of rainfall has been recorded. The driest March on record was 1923, which also experienced only 2.2mm of rain.
Despite some sporadic showers across the city yesterday and temperatures dropping to six degrees overnight, indicating autumn is well and truly underway, no rainfall was measure at the official Ballarat Aerodrome site.
While traditionally a dry month, March does generally yield considerable more with an average rainfall of 42mm. The dry March follows on the fourth driest summer in the cities recorded history. Just 52.8mm of rain has fallen to date this season according to the Bureau of Meteorology, the city’s worst numbers since just 42.4mm fell in 1984-1985.
Creswick resident and keen gardener Maria Marco said she felt the summer and into March had been particularly dry.
“Summer had a late onset, it was still cold around Christmas time, but we seem to be getting cold again already,” Ms Marco said.
Although it had been dry, she said it wasn’t impacting how she was caring for the garden.
“I just give my garden a good soak once a week, that keeps it going.”
But Weatherzone spokesman Guy Dixon said there was some hope a light rain event later in the week might push Ballarat over its worst March total on record.
“There is some hope that the days later in the week, mainly Thursday and Friday, will bring some rain with falls of 5-10mm, but at this point it doesn’t appear to be anything substantial.”
Mr Dixon said the extreme dry spell was also unusual in that it was not connected with a El Nino climactic event and atmospheric and oceanic indicators continued close to their long-term average.
“It is still neutral at the moment, but these are the kind of conditions you would expect from an El Nino conditions,” he said.
Four out five of the last summers have had heavy downfalls to lift averages, including floods in 2011, but substantial rain events with more than 10mm of rain have not eventuated since early December.