PARTS of the south-west recorded their highest annual temperatures in a generation during 2013 as heat records tumbled across the nation.
Australia experienced its hottest year on record in 2013, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has confirmed, with temperatures 1.2 degrees above the long-term average.
The bureau said the new high, which breaks the record set in 2005 by 0.17C, “continues the trend” of steadily rising temperatures nationwide.
In the south-west, Warr-nambool, Port Fairy, Mortlake, Portland and Colac’s weather stations all broke records for warmest average daytime temperature, despite only a few days of sweltering heat during the past 12 months.
Most of the stations listed have been operational for between 12 and 30 years.
The bureau released the annual data, which also highlighted above-average rainfall along the south-west coast, while districts only 100 kilometres inland had either average or below-average rainfall during the calendar year.
BOM climatologist Jonathan Pollock said Warrnambool, Portland and Cape Nelson weather stations also broke records for the highest average overnight temperature.
He said most of south-eastern Australia experienced a very hot start to 2013, with a number of days pushing past 35 degrees.
“It was Australia’s warmest year on record so it isn’t surprising that some stations in south-west Victoria reflected that trend,” Mr Pollock said.
“It was also Victoria’s third warmest year.
“2013 started off quite warm and so that would’ve had an effect on the overall annual temperature although Victoria didn’t experience a heatwave of any kind.
“Just a few very hot days here and there.”
Warrnambool Airport recorded a daily mean temperature of 19.6 degrees, the highest annual result in 14 years of operations.
By the same measure, Port Fairy recorded a mean of 19.4 degrees after 21 years of use.
Rainfall tallies across the Western District were mixed over the surveyed period.
Portland was the region’s wettest location in 2013 with more than 1150 millimetres of rainfall, surpassing its average by 40 per cent.
Port Fairy was also wetter than usual with 952 millimetres and Warrnambool with 793 mm.
Inland towns experienced average to below-average rainfall quotas, Hamilton recording 558 millimetres and Mortlake 560 mm.
Mr Pollock said the long-term forecast for the south-west was neutral, with an average amount of rain forecast for January and February.
“Based on the forecast, there’s little possibility of either above-average or below-average rainfall for the rest of summer,” he said.
Isolated showers are forecast this afternoon with a temperature in the high teens both today and tomorrow.