THE south-west has sweltered through one of the hottest and driest Januaries on record.
The sixth warmest daytime temperature on record, warmer than average nights and below average rainfall have characterised what the Bureau of Meteorology called a hot and dry month for the whole state.
The south-west sweated its way through more days above 40 degrees than average, with the bureau’s official site at Warrnambool airport recording three days of 40-plus temperatures. The average is just 0.7 days.
It was similar circumstances in Hamilton, where the mercury soared above 40 on four days. Mortlake recorded three days and Portland two.
Port Fairy seemingly escaped the majority of the heat, only recording one day above 40 on January 28.
Mortlake recorded the region’s highest temperature for the month, reaching 43.9 degrees on January 16 during the four-day heatwave that saw temperatures soar right across south-east Australia.
Portland recorded the lowest maximum temperature for the month, hitting 15.5 degrees on January 6.
Rainfall was also below average across the region, with 15.6 millimetres falling in Warrnambool, well below the average of 34.2mm.
Port Fairy recorded 19.4mm, again below the monthly average of 31.9mm.
Mortlake was the only location in the south-west to reach near-average rainfall, with 30.4mm being tipped out of the gauge at the Mortlake racecourse.
Bureau of Meteorology senior climate liaison officer Kevin Smith said it was a mixed bag of statistics statewide.
“Some sites had their highest January temperature on record. Some sites had their coldest January day on record. Some sites had their highest January mean daily maximum temperature on record,” Mr Smith said.
“Overnight temperatures were above average in the south-west and the Mallee districts, parts of the northern country and central districts, while elsewhere they were typical for January.”