May rainfall the mirror image of March
Dr. Andrew Watkins, Head of Long-range Forecasts, Bureau of Meteorology
The data is coming in for May, and it's almost a mirror image of the rainfall we had in March.
Whereas March was dry in the south but wetter in the north, the opposite is the case for May.
Wettest areas have been in the south. Highest totals were in the southwest of the State, with areas
around Hamilton and Mortlake having more than 1.5 times their average rain for May.
But in the north of the State – a vastly different story. Dry conditions extended across the Mallee
and into parts of the Wimmera, while parts of the High Country also had low rainfall.
We're being a little careful with numbers from the High Country, as some areas have not reported
their rainfall totals yet. This is because people have been working from home and not able to access
the more remote gauges. Watch our maps online to see changes as more data arrives.
For Victoria as a whole, May rainfall was around 20% below normal, with most falling in the early
parts of the month. The highest daily rainfall was 64.6 mm at Moe South on the 2nd.
If you felt like you needed to rug up this month, the data proves it wasn't just you. Overall, both days
and nights were cooler than average.
The average maximum temperature for the State during May was 15.2°C, well below the average
May maximum of 16°C. This made it the coldest May since 2011.
May nights typically average 6.5°C over the State but were only 5.7°C in 2020 – the coldest since
The first week of May was especially cold and wet, with snowfalls down to low levels, though most
of that snow melted during the course of the month.
With more rainfall and less evaporation, soil moisture has been recovering well across the State.
By the end of May, central Victoria - including the Goulburn and Murray valley's - and west
Gippsland, are showing above average to well above average soil moisture in the top metre, while
the Wimmera-Mallee is closer to average. The only part of the State with below average soil
moisture is in far east Gippsland.
So, with lots of rain in April, and March and May being almost perfectly opposite, which way is
winter likely to go? The latest outlooks suggests June is likely to be drier than average for most of
the State, but July could be wetter than average in north-western Victoria.