ARARAT - A lack of rain at both the beginning and end of 2013 saw the year close with rainfall figures well below average.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, which records its figures at the Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat, 2013 ended with 439.3 millimetres, well down on the previous year's figure of 505.1mm and falling well short of the 45 year average rainfall for this area of 588.7mm.
With January often recording thunderstorms and rain, 2013 began with a dry spell. Just 0.3mm of rain was recorded on January 9, the only rain for the month and barely enough to wet the ground, well below the 39mm average.
Residents also sweltered through the hottest day of the year in January, a top of 41 degrees on January 4, with day time temperatures for the month ranging from 19 to 41.
Rainfall returned to average in February with 30.8 recorded for the month and temperatures ranging from the mid twenties to mid thirties, making for a pleasant return to school for students across the region.
Dry conditions returned for the beginning of autumn, with just 10.8mm recorded in March and 9mm in April - not the conditions farmers were hoping for as they began preparations for the cropping season. However, May rainfall was close to the average with 41mm of rain falling on 16 days across the month, including 16mm on May 13.
The Ararat region also experienced a number of chilly nights throughout the colder months, with 16 below-freezing nights between May and July, including two -3.2 degrees nights, in both June and July.
Winter rainfall returned to average, providing soaking rain throughout June, July and August.
Rain fell on 14 days throughout June, with 48.1mm recorded, just below the 55.3mm average of the month, while in July and August rainfall was above average for the first time all year.
In July rain fell on 17 days, with 67.1mm in the gauge.
While August rainfall was again consistent, with only eight rain-free days for the month, there were no heavy downpours, but by the end of the month 80.2mm had fallen, well up on the 69mm average.
September saw the return to below average figures, with 41.8mm recorded and again no heavy downpours, but October saw above average rainfall of 69.0mm, including 13.1mm on October 1 and 18.4mm on October 23.
Residents could have been forgiven for thinking the warmer weather would never come, with chilly conditions throughout October, November and even into early December but despite the cool temperatures, the year ended on a dry note, with 24.8mm of rain in November and just 16.4mm in December.
The weather did warm up towards the end of the year with second hottest day of the year recorded on December 19 with 40 degrees, and perfect Christmas and New Year's Eve weather.