Hot start to year in Ararat

ARARAT - Those of us wilting in the scorching summer sun have good reason to complain with this January one of the hottest months on record.

Ararat surpassed 40 degrees Celsius on four days of last month, the first time this has occurred since at least 1970 when the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) first made daily maximum temperatures publicly accessible.

What makes the figures so much more compelling is that in the 44 years of records, between 1970 and 2006 Ararat didn't have multiple days in January over 40 degrees, in fact it only recorded a total of five January days over 40 for the entire 36 years.

However, Ararat has now recorded multiple January days over 40 degrees for four of the last nine years - 13 in total since January 2006.

This year's cumulative number of days of temperatures above 40 is more than the record-breaking heatwave experienced in the final week of the same month in 2009.

The statistics are in stark contrast to 30 years ago when Ararat recorded no days above 40 degrees for the entire month of January.

In fact the highest daily maximum was almost cool by comparison with 31.8 degrees the highest reading for the entire month of January 1984.

This month's highest daily maximum of 43.1 degrees at the beginning of the heatwave is also a new record high for the month of January - the previous record high of 42.9 degrees had stood since 2003.

The record high on January 14 was followed by temperatures of 41, 39.2 and 40.9 over consecutive days.

The hottest day of the month was also followed by the hottest night of the month with the overnight low of 27.4 degrees likely to set a new record for the highest overnight minimum for the month of January.

The previous overnight high was 26.5 degrees, recorded on January 3, 1991.

It was a particularly mild start to the year with temperatures below average for the first seven days, it wasn't until January 9 that Ararat broke 30 degrees.

The long term average daily maximum of 26.8 degrees has been exceeded by more than three degrees, with the daily mean sitting at 30 degrees Celsius.

The average overnight minimum of 13.4 degrees is also more than two degrees above the long term average nightly minimum of 11.1 degrees.

It was also another very dry January for Ararat with total rainfall of just 12.6 millimetres falling well short of the long term average of 39.8mm.

The highest 24-hour daily rainfall total occurred on January 24 when 6.2 millimetres brought relief to residents and firefighters in the wake of the heatwave and bushfires.

We finished the month and began another with a reminder of just how hot it has been. A 40 degree day on January 28 was followed by two more days above 40 degrees on February 1 and 2.

The BOM has forecast an even chance of above or below average temperatures, as well as an even chance of above or below average rainfall for the period February to April 2014.

Cooling off with Briody, Maggie, Logan and Ebony at the Lake Bolac Pool.

Cooling off with Briody, Maggie, Logan and Ebony at the Lake Bolac Pool.


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