2017 warmer than average, with rain and temperature records broken in Bendigo and central Victoria

A vehicle crosses a flooded road on a rainy day in April last year, Bendigo's wettest April on record. Picture: NONI HYETT
A vehicle crosses a flooded road on a rainy day in April last year, Bendigo's wettest April on record. Picture: NONI HYETT

Last year was a hot one across Australia and across the region, with temperatures significantly above average in central Victoria.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate statement shows the annual mean temperature for all of central Victoria and most of the state was “very much above average” in 2017, which was Australia’s third-warmest year on record and the sixth-warmest year in Victoria.

The BOM says there was “exceptional” warmth in the last week of September that set records in the eastern states.

Bendigo saw its hottest September day since records began in 1991 on September 23, when the mercury reached 32.8 - 15.8 degrees higher than the long-term average maximum for the month.

November was also very warm in Victoria – the second-warmest ever recorded – as a result of a long, blocking high pressure system over the Tasman Sea.

Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Last year saw Bendigo’s warmest October night on record: the temperature did not fall below 17.7 degrees on October 19.

Meanwhile, rainfall in the region was mostly on par with the long-term average, although there were small pockets that experienced above-average rainfall, and others that were drier than average.

Last year gave Bendigo its driest June ever, with just 2.4 millimetres of rain in the 30 days, compared to a long-term average of 50.8 millimetres.

That month also proved to be a record-breaking dry June in both Castlemaine and Maryborough.

Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

"The middle of the year was notably dry, with June the second-driest on record nationally, and September the driest on record for the Murray–Darling Basin,” BOM head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said.

"The last three months of 2017 took a wetter turn, with above-average rainfall in many areas.”

Bendigo saw more rain than usual in November, with 62 millimetres recorded, a third more than the average of 46.4 millimetres.

But it was April that was exceptionally wet: a record-breaking 113.2 millimetres of rain fell that month, 80 millimetres more than than the long-term average.

Over the course of the year, Bendigo received 2.3 per cent more rain than the long-term average, although statewide rainfall was 6 per cent below average.

Castlemaine also had a drier-than-average year, with its 2017 total 8.4 per cent below average.

But Maryborough experienced a year that was much drier than normal: it received nearly 25 per cent less rain than the long-term average.