UPDATE 2.15pm: Broken equipment meant Bendigo was left out of climate data as records tumbled in other parts of central Victoria.
Two weeks of data was lost in December when the Bureau of Meteorology’s automatic weather station broke down, climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan.
It meant the city was not included in the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate survey, released today.
“We like to have nearly complete data for every month, just to be confident we are not biasing it,” Mr Barnes-Keoghan said.
However, Mr Barnes-Keoghan said Bendigo’s data would not differ too wildly from numerous other monitoring stations in the region.
“Looking around the area we can see daytime temperatures were about two degrees warmer than the average over the year,” he said.
Our Annual #Climate Statement for #Australia in 2018 is now online at https://t.co/FR9oFLdqMY. It was the country's 3rd warmest year in 109 years of national records, with total rainfall for the year (averaged across Aus) 11% below average. @WMOpic.twitter.com/6pmdwebPqs— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) January 9, 2019
Total rainfall in Bendigo came in at 389mm, less than the average 510mm.
“It’s not record breaking but it is certainly well down on what we would expect,” Mr Barnes-Keoghan said.
Long dry periods dominated in 2018, notably broken by the 80mm that fell in December, 50mm of which came over just two days.
The deluge was not enough to break the dry spell’s back, Mr Barnes-Keoghan said, but left Bendigo in a better position than other parts of the state.
EARLIER: It was a year for the history books in central Victoria, with Charlton witnessing a record day of rainfall even as Victoria baked through dry conditions not seen since 2006.
Charlton smashed a 1973’s 77mm of rain last month with 93mm in one day. December 14 also saw two Birchip daily rainfall totals hit new highs.
Yet several very wet days last month largely proved to be the exception during the third warmest year on record in Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate survey.
Redesdale broke its highest average daily temperature, set in 2014. The record is now up 0.2 degrees to 22.4.
Castlemaine equaled its 2014 average daily temperature high of 21.1 degrees while Kerang and Echuca’s average daily temperatures came close to records set in 1914.
Some parts of the state had their lowest rainfall totals ever, including Erica and Lake Tyers.
The BOM’s senior climatologist Lynette Bettio said large areas of south eastern Australia experienced rainfalls in the lowest 10 per cent on record, which exacerbated severe drought conditions north in New South Wales.
Dr Bettio hoped for some rain relief for those impacted by dry conditions across much of the country in 2019.
In central Victoria, December’s rain helped replenish soil moisture to “average” levels, according to a BOM drought statement issued yesterday.
Bendigo temperatures are likely to stay toasty, with a climate outlook released earlier this month predicting the city’s chances of exceeding the long-term median between January and March were 81 per cent.
Bendigo’s median temperature was likely to be 28.2 degrees.
Castlemaine, Maryborough and Kyneton faced similar odds, while the likelihood of the three-monthly maximum at Echuca rising above the long-term median at 78 per cent.
A heatwave is set to begin tomorrow, with the BOM predicting temperatures in in the high 30s and low 40s well into next week.
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