IT'S official, Australia has entered a La Nina period, meaning a wet summer is likely to befall most of Victoria.
But predictions of a wetter than average spring have fallen a little short for the first month of the season in the Ballarat region with slightly less-than-average rainfall across the city in September.
Ballarat was still wet, seeing 64.4mm for the month, slightly lower than the average 72.1mm.
But when you factor in the snow dump last Friday which saw at least 2cm fall, you could argue it was a wetter than average start to spring.
It was certainly a month of contrasts across Ballarat with temperatures climbing as high as 21.9 degrees, but we also saw one of the biggest snow dumps seen in years on September 25, as winter officially went out with a bang.
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Ballarat's average temperature throughout the month was slightly above average, coming in at 14.4 degrees, up on the usual 13.8 degrees.
Officially we just missed our coldest September day on record, with a late afternoon burst of sunshine seeing the temperature hit seven degrees. The all-time record low September maximum remains at six degrees which occurred on September 15, 1957.
But if you think we've seen the end of the wet weather, think again, with the Bureau of Meteorology saying the La Nina event is now likely to remain in place until at least the end of the year.
La Nina is associated with cooler than average sea surface temperature in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Recent observations and model forecasts show the central tropical Pacific Ocean is now 0.8 of a degree cooler than normal.
La Nina typically results in above-average spring rainfall for Australia, particularly across eastern, central and northern regions. It can also mean cooler days, more tropical cyclones, and an earlier onset of the first rains of the wet season across the north.
The last La Nina event occurred from 2010-2012 and resulted in one of Australia's wettest two-year periods on record. Widespread flooding occurred in many parts of Australia associated with the record rainfalls.
During that period, Australia saw five tropical cyclones in the severe category including Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which caused widespread damage to far north Queensland.
The first week of October across Ballarat looks like a typical spring mixed bag where we should see our warmest two days since early March.
Friday is expected to reach 24 degrees while Saturday will get as high as 25 degrees.
But there is a sting in the tail. Not only will the next cold front sweep in on Saturday night, dropping temperatures back to just 15 degrees on Sunday, winds are also expected to be strong both days with northerly's predicted to average up to 37km/h with stronger gusts.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Keris Arndt said there will be some particularly warm conditions later in the week
"In the north-west of the state we'll see temperatures of up to 35 in Mildura on Saturday," he said.
"It's generally how spring goes, we have a bit of a rollercoaster where we go from cold days to warm days. We are definitely warming up to well above average later in the week.
"Along with those warm conditions, we are seeing winds really pick up. We expect to issue a severe weather warning for overnight Friday into Saturday in elevated areas.
"The winds will moderate as we go into Saturday afternoon."
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