Global cooling hits Victoria

Where have Victoria's days of summer gone? Cool and cloudy days have forced beach lovers indoors, and bikini and ice cream sales have slumped. One ray of sunshine is a bright outlook for Christmas - long range forecaster John Moore says Christmas Eve will be fine and 26 [Celsius], and Christmas Day fine and 25. But he says showers will return on Boxing Day. Melbourne has seen an average of just seven hours' sunshine a day this month, well down on the December average of 8.3 hours.

The silver lining is that parts of Victoria had more than their December average of rain in just one day - last Friday - and Melbourne's December fall is already well above average.

While no one needs an expert to work it out, Dr Harvey Stern, at the Bureau of Meteorology, confirmed it was unusual to have so few hot days in December. "There's no sign of really hot weather in the next week," he said. "Mostly we are looking at temperatures in the 20s."

Summer swimwear retailers have been particularly hit by the cold weather, many brands reporting a drop in bikini and board short sales. Rip Curl marketing manager Nick Russell is really looking forward to a break in the weather. The surf brand's bikini sales are well down on previous years, especially in coastal holiday spots. "We would be significantly better off if it had have been 35C and beautiful for the past fortnight or so," he said. Mark Mariotti, who owns St Kilda ice cream store Seven Apples, said his business was losing thousands of dollars a week. "My business is all about summer and sales and it's not happening . . . we want some sun," he said.

Dr Stern said Melbourne's rainfall of 67mm this month was 10mm above average. Melbourne Water's supply manager John Woodland said an average of 65mm of rain fell over Melbourne's major catchments, boosting the city's water storages by 11 billion litres. The rain topped up catchments by 0.6 per cent, taking the nine reservoirs to 34.6 per cent of capacity, compared with 39.1 per cent at the same time last year. Smaller gains are expected for the rest of the week as more water flows from streams across the 160,000ha catchment area. Mr Woodland said despite the downpours the city's storages still faced an 80 billion litre shortfall.

Dr Harry Hemley, vice-president of the Australian Medical Association Victoria, said GPs had been flooded with patients complaining of common colds during the cold snap. "There has been an influx since we've had the cold spell of weather and people have been indoors coughing over each other," Dr Hemley said. "Prior to this little cold spell we had more hay fever coming in and that seems to have declined and now we've got more upper respiratory infections."


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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