January Ballarat's driest in four years

MORE than five times as much rain was recorded after this week’s storm event than during the entire month of January.

A total of 1.8 millimetres of rainfall was recorded at the Ballarat Aerodrome during January, making it the driest start to the year since 2009.

By contrast, more than 10 millimetres was recorded in a single day after Thursday’s storm.

The reason Thursday’s downpour wasn’t included in the official figures for January was because of a long-standing Bureau of Meteorology standard. While the bureau rounds off the monthly temperature numbers to 9am on the first day of the following month, its rainfall levels are counted until 9am on the last day of each month.  This means that even though Ballarat’s storm occurred on January 31, it happened in the afternoon so it will be counted towards February’s rainfall total.

It was also a very dry month for Melbourne, with Victoria’s capital receiving just 8 millimetres for all of January.

The meagre total placed it within the 10 per cent of driest years in records dating back to 1855.

Ballarat has enjoyed a varied start to the year in recent times.

January of 2009 yielded just 0.8 millimetres of rain, but a whopping 206 millimetres fell for the first month of 2011.

The average maximum temperature this January (27.3 degrees) was slightly higher than the long term average of 25.1 degrees.

Nationwide, January posting the hottest average temperatures for the month on record.

The previous record was set in 1932.

jordan.oliver@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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