BALLARAT has experienced its wettest start to the year since records began.Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Peter Newham said yesterday there had been more rain this January than any other."Ballarat records go back to 1908," he said. "So far this January Ballarat has seen 203 millimetres of rain, the previous record was 187mm in 1963."Yesterday and today's sunny weather tells a very different story to the many days of heavy rain the Ballarat region endured last week.This led to flash flooding in the CBD, Delacombe and Alfredton as well as severe flooding in Creswick, Clunes, Beaufort and Skipton.La Nina has been blamed for the rain event, and The Weather Channel's Tom Saunders said it was the strongest in 92 years according to Southern Oscillation Index figures."One of the climate indicators of the strength of a La Nina is the Southern Oscillation Index, which measures the difference in pressure between Tahiti and Darwin," he explained."An SOI value above +8 indicates La Nina conditions. The average SOI from August to December 2010 was +21.1, this has only ever been exceeded by the La Nina of 1917-18 with +24.4."Meanwhile, he said Ballarat could look forward to a break in the showers with a few days of warm, sunny weather."For the rest of the month there's going to be plenty of days in the mid 20s," he said."Today will be hot a maximum of 28 degrees and a cool change in the early afternoon."On Saturday you're looking at 25 degrees and on Sunday 29 degrees. This will drop down to 22 degrees on Monday."
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