Heat wave to hit Ballarat

HOT AIR is building across central and western Australia ready to smother Victoria from tomorrow.

While we will swelter, spare a thought for your garden.

New Year’s Day meant 2012 rainfall figures were officially in and confirmed Ballarat had endured its driest year since 2009.

But the general consensus on the street was Ballarat residents have drought-proofed their gardens well and should fare all right through this early January heat wave.

Newlyn Cottage Garden Nursery’s John Hungerford said people still needed to ensure a little tender loving care for their plants.

“Put lots of mulch on trees and make sure you keep them watered so they’re damp but not soaking,” Mr Hungerford said.

The Newlyn nursery specialises in trees, particularly heritage pear and apple trees, and perenniels.

Mr Hungerford said a dry year meant he had done a lot more watering of stock at the nursery last year.

Weatherzone experts say Ballarat gardeners should not be too concerned yet – 2012 was not a drought beginning, just a bit drier than usual.

Ballarat collected 33.6 millilitres rainfall last month, more than 17ml below the December average.

Total Ballarat rainfall was 633ml.

This was a stark contrast to LaNina year 2010 when Ballarat had almost 1100ml rainfall, including a December tally of 58.4ml, with about 180 rainy days –clear above the 167 rainy day average.

Spring rain was far below par with 109ml falling in 2012, almost 105ml less than spring 2011 and 125ml less than a dry 2009.

Early forecasts show Ballarat should expect near-average rainfall in the first few months of 2013.

Ballarat ended the year on a warm note and the  weather is only going to get hotter.

The hot air mass, drawn to south-eastern Australia, will send the temperature into the mid-30s tomorrow pushed up to high-30s by Friday.

Ballarat can expect a weak cool change reprieve on Saturday and Sunday, back in the low-30s before the mercury soars again.

Temperatures are tipped to keep Ballarat sweating above 30C until at least next Wednesday.

So Ballarat gardeners, keep mulching.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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