It had been a very long time since we had as much rain as in July 2016. The highest rainfall for any July recorded at the Aireys Inlet weather station (since it opened in 1990) was 104.8 mm in 2000. The total monthly rainfall last July was 137 mm, more than double the long term July average of 66.5 mm. Over half of the rain that fell in July fell on only three days – on Thursday 6 July (33 mm) and on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July (total 39.8 mm). The temporary flooding of Painkalac Creek and the valley itself were spectacular sights before the inlet was opened on Saturday 23 July and again on the following Friday, which caused great excitement. Well after dusk, locals and visitors were still watching the creek gush out to sea.
August 2016 brought rainfall nearer to normality, with 73.66 mm compared to the long term August average of 66.7 mm.
But September 2016 was even wetter than July with a monthly total of 141 mm, which dwarfed the long term September average of 55.8 mm, and with a single day fall of 43.8 mm (getting on for 2 inches in the old money) on Wednesday 14th September. The two preceding days were also very wet with 27.8 mm on Tuesday 13th and 10.6 mm on Monday 12th, so it was no surprise that the inlet opened again, this time with with no human assistance.
Gary Johnson took these photos on September 16th 2016:
The water poured over the Painkalac Reservoir spillway and down into the creek –
It flowed down the creek and into the valley –
On the way it (and other drainage flows) flooded Bambra Road and Coach Road –