BENDIGO’S hottest January on record will give way to a February with temperatures closer to average and see the city avoid recording its hottest ever summer.
That’s the prediction from the Bureau of Meteorology ahead of the final month of summer.
Last month’s average maximum temperature of 33.5 degrees is clearly the highest recorded during any January at the Bendigo airport weather station, and included record 15 days above 35º.
Twelve of those days came in succession between January 18 and 29, the longest such streak recorded during January according to the bureau’s records.
The previous record was eight, recorded on three separate occasions.
The mild finish to last month saw it fall just short of being the equal hottest of any month recorded at the airport, with February of 1997 seeing an average maximum of 33.6º.
The mercury topped 40º on three occasions, double the long-term average, including two consecutive days above 43º on January 19 and 20.
Despite the hot temperatures recorded during the day seeing maximum temperatures 3.7º higher than average, minimum temperatures averaged 16º for the month compared to the average of 14.2º.
It has Bendigo on track to equal its hottest summer average maximum temperature, of 31.2 in 2014.
But with this month likely to see temperatures closer to the February average of 29.6º, that record may be secure.
Both minimum and maximum temperatures are forecast to be in line with averages after both were significantly above normal in January.
But the cooler temperatures are not expected to bring significant wet weather, with forecasts suggesting close to average rainfall for the month.
The bureau is predicting a wetter than average February, with Bendigo expected to exceed the median figure of just 17 millimetres.
February is historically the second driest of any month, behind only March.
The region will not see much assistance in the way of rainfall from the La Niña weather pattern, which will ease through early autumn.
“A weak La Niña is clearly established across the tropical Pacific. But we’re starting to see an indication this event is near its peak in terms of cooling the tropical Pacific,” the bureau’s Felicity Gamble said.
“Climate models are predicting the decay of La Niña in early autumn.”