Victoria in January 2020: wetter than average; cool start but warm end to the month

Victoria in January was wetter than average, largely due to the record rainfall to 9 am on the 21st and the 23rd. Daytime temperatures were warmer than average.

Wet in the central and southeast Victoria

  • Statewide, January rainfall was 19% above the long-term January average of 40.0 mm
  • Most of the southeast and central parts of Victoria were wetter than average; it was drier than average only in pockets in the southwest, northwest, and the far east of the State
  • Parts of the Victoria's far northwest received less than 10 mm of rainfall during the month, while some areas of central Gippsland and the Central District received more than twice their average rainfall for the month
  • Thunderstorms, associated with a slow-moving low-pressure trough, produced locally heavy falls across central parts of Victoria on the 15th
  • A deepening low pressure trough brought rainfall to most of Victoria on the 19th and the 20th, while a cold front and the associated trough which brought moisture from the tropics, resulted in more moderate to heavy falls across the State on the 22nd
  • The highest daily rainfall in January was 151.6 mm recorded at Stratford, in Central Gippsland, to 9 am on the 21st
  • Many sites had their highest January daily rainfall on record on the 21st or the 23rd
  • Some sites had their highest total January rainfall on record or their highest total January rainfall since at least 1998
  • The wettest place in Victoria in January was Mount Moornapa, in Central Gippsland, with 226.2 mm recorded during the month, nearly four-times its January average

Warmer than average days

  • Daily temperatures were warmer than average across most of the State
  • Statewide, the mean maximum temperature was 1.16 °C warmer than the long-term January average
  • The month started off cool, but the 3rd and 4th were warmer than average due to the northerly airflow preceding the arrival of a cold front
  • A cold front that crossed Victoria on the 4th brought cool daytime temperatures and some sites had their coldest January day (lowest maximum temperature) on record on the 5th or 6th
  • The final days of the month were very warm, peaking on the 31st, when temperatures across the State soared into the 40s
  • Some sites in the State's northeast had their highest January temperature on record on the 4th and the 31st
  • Night-time temperatures during the month were generally close to average, but there were some warm nights
  • The highest night-time temperature in Victoria during January was 29.9 °C recorded at Mildura Airport on the 31st
  • Averaged across the State, the mean minimum temperature was 0.73 °C warmer than average, and the lowest since 2013

Fires, smoke, dust and thunderstorms

  • Smoke haze from bushfires extended across most of Victoria, including Melbourne, on the 13th, while in the east there was thick smoke
  • The state recorded the worst air quality in the world on the 14th, as smoke from East Gippsland fires spread and authorities alerted vulnerable groups to stay indoors
  • A number of flights were cancelled at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on the 15th, as thick smoke covered the city
  • Severe thunderstorms in the afternoon on the 15th brought heavy rainfall, flash flooding and damaging winds to central Victoria and parts of Melbourne
  • Severe thunderstorms developed again on the 19th over central and eastern Victoria, bringing heavy rainfall and giant hail (up to 5.5 cm in diameter in Glen Iris, in the southeast of Greater Melbourne)
  • Widespread rainfall on the 20th and the 22nd helped reduce the number of uncontained bushfires in the State's east
  • Strong northerly winds brought dust from northwest Victoria to the southern parts of the State; it came down with rain, and coated surfaces with a layer of dust, and coloured the Yarra river brown
  • High temperatures and humidity fueled thunderstorms that developed on the 31st over southwestern Victoria generating strong winds; the strongest wind gust in the State this January, 146 km/h, was recorded at Fawkner Beacon on the 31st
  • Strong winds associated with a thunderstorm which developed near Colac on the 31st afternoon, led to several transmission towers being knocked to the ground
  • Bushfires burnt more than 1.5 million hectares across the State during January

Further information

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Extremes in January 2020
Hottest day 46.2 °C at Kyabram on the 31st
46.2 °C at Rutherglen Research on the 31st
Warmest days on average 33.3 °C at Rutherglen Research
Coolest days on average 18.4 °C at Mount Hotham
Coldest day 7.7 °C at Mount Buller on the 23rd
Coldest night 0.0 °C at Mount Baw Baw on the 17th
Coolest nights on average 8.2 °C at Mount Hotham
Warmest nights on average 17.2 °C at Gabo Island Lighthouse
Warmest night 29.9 °C at Mildura Airport on the 31st
Warmest on average overall 24.9 °C at Mildura Airport
Coolest on average overall 13.3 °C at Mount Hotham
Wettest overall 226.2 mm at Mount Moornapa
Wettest day 151.6 mm at Stratford on the 21st
Strongest wind gust 146 km/h at Fawkner Beacon on the 31st

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest January daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Meerlieu (Springvale West) 61.2 on the 21st 57.6 on the 6th in 1991 52
Stratford 151.6 on the 21st 70.4 on the 26th in 1982 50
Bairnsdale Airport 75.2 on the 21st 52.6 on the 6th in 1991 40
Nicholson Winery 64.2 on the 21st 58.0 on the 6th in 1991 34
Cerberus 39.0 on the 23rd 35.2 on the 1st in 1988 30
Kinglake West 69.2 on the 21st 68.8 on the 14th in 2011 28
Mount Moornapa 138.8 on the 21st 61.6 on the 20th in 2008 26
Maffra 56.2 on the 21st 29.4 on the 7th in 1997 24
Balook 30.2 on the 23rd 26.6 on the 5th in 2000 21
Bullumwaal 78.6 on the 21st 49.0 on the 27th in 2001 20
Cape Schanck 43.4 on the 23rd 37.8 on the 13th in 1998 20
Mitchell River @ Glenaladale 59.8 on the 21st 51.8 on the 25th in 2008 20



Record highest January total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Melbourne Botanical Gardens 129.4 114.1 in 1970 51 44.6
Melbourne Airport 101.8 101.6 in 1991 50 41.2
Stratford 210.6 145.8 in 1980 49 50.8
Bairnsdale Airport 127.6 111.3 in 1999 40 49.6
Kinglake West 181.2 179.0 in 2011 28 67.5
Coldstream 118.0 75.2 in 2011 26 45.6
Mount Moornapa 226.2 199.0 in 2016 25 69.4
Balook 131.8 120.4 in 2016 21 68.7
Viewbank 109.6 108.8 in 2011 21 43.0

Highest January total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
January
Scoresby Research Institute 138.4 192.5 in 1963* 53.2
Briagolong 159.4 160.4 in 1980* 55.5
Meerlieu (Springvale West) 123.5 127.4 in 1980* 46.9
Essendon Airport 115.2 146.1 in 1970* 43.2
Yan Yean 86.8 103.8 in 1988 44.3
Jindivick 128.6 135.8 in 1991 75.3
Mount Best (Upper Toora) 124.6 133.0 in 1991 64.4
Wonthaggi 92.4 150.2 in 1991 47.9
Rhyll 80.8 89.6 in 1995 37.6
Springvale (Sandown) 102.8 104.6 in 1996 48.7
Oakleigh (Metropolitan Golf Club) 101.5 143.6 in 1996* 48.9
Moorabbin Airport 106.8 122.0 in 1998 44.9
Lake Tyers 89.4 146.0 in 1995* 57.9

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported




Record highest January temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Strathbogie 42.0 on the 31st 41.9 on the 16th in 2019 43 27.5
Dartmouth Reservoir 42.2 on the 31st 41.1 on the 30th in 2009 42 29.5
Edi Upper 43.0 on the 31st 42.4 on the 5th in 2013 34 30.4
Aireys Inlet 43.5 on the 31st 43.3 on the 4th in 2013 29 23.1
Mount Hotham 28.2 on the 4th 28.1 on the 16th in 2019 29 16.5
Gelantipy 39.2 on the 31st 38.2 on the 25th in 2019 28 24.1
Hunters Hill 38.8 on the 4th 38.3 on the 16th in 2019 27 26.1
Yarrawonga 46.0 on the 31st 45.8 on the 25th in 2019 27 32.9



Record lowest January daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
January
Lake Eildon 15.1 on the 6th 16.2 on the 5th in 1991 50 29.1
Bendigo Airport 15.2 on the 5th 16.0 on the 31st in 2016 29 30.2
Redesdale 15.8 on the 5th = 15.8 on the 31st in 2016 27 29.8
Wallan (Kilmore Gap) 10.9 on the 5th 11.2 on the 2nd in 1996 27 25.2
Coldstream 15.1 on the 5th 16.0 on the 29th in 2016 26 28.1
Swan Hill Aerodrome 18.3 on the 5th 18.8 on the 31st in 2016 24 33.4
Viewbank 15.7 on the 5th 17.3 on the 2nd in 2017 21 28.1



Summary statistics for January 2020
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2020
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2020
Mean for
January
2020
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2020
Total for
January
2020
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2020
Fraction of
January
average
North Mallee (district 76)
Mildura Airport 33.2 +0.7 43.8 30th 16.6 -0.2 9.4 24th 2.8 21.9 low 13%
Ouyen (Post Office) 32.2 -0.3 41.2 3rd 14.6 -1.0 7.4 27th 9.8 20.9 average 47%
Walpeup Research 32.7 +0.7 43.7 30th 15.0 -0.4 8.0 24th 11.4 22.0 average 52%
South Mallee (district 77)
Hopetoun Airport 32.3 -1.1 45.2 31st 13.7 -1.9 6.7 24th 9.6 29.8 average 32%
Swan Hill Aerodrome 33.2 -0.2 45.4 31st 14.7 -1.6 7.8 24th 13.2 24.5 average 54%
North Wimmera (district 78)
Kellalac (Warracknabeal Airport) 31.4   44.6 31st 13.3   6.9 17th 18.4
Nhill Aerodrome 30.6 -0.9 43.7 31st 12.9 -1.1 6.4 17th 13.6 26.7 average 51%
South Wimmera (district 79)
Edenhope Airport 28.6 -1.2 41.7 30th 12.0 -1.2 5.4 17th 19.6 30.1 average 65%
Grampians (Mount William) 21.1 -0.3 34.0 31st 9.6 -0.7 1.8 17th 35.6 65.0 average 55%
Horsham Aerodrome 30.6 -0.7 43.9 31st 11.8 -0.9 5.6 17th 51.8 29.4 high 176%
Kanagulk 28.8 -1.3 43.0 31st 11.9 -1.0 5.5 1st 34.2 34.8 average 98%
Longerenong 31.1 +1.0 44.3 31st 12.5 -0.5 4.1 17th 24.0 24.7 average 97%
Pyrenees (Ben Nevis) 25.0 -0.6 37.5 31st 11.5 -1.1 4.1 17th 62.4 41.8 high 149%
Stawell Aerodrome 29.3 -0.2 41.3 31st 12.8 -0.8 8.4 1st 20.8 33.7 average 62%
Lower North (district 80)
Charlton 31.8 -1.0 44.4 31st 14.2 -1.4 8.5 24th 16.4 27.9 average 59%
Echuca Aerodrome 32.5 +1.5 46.0 31st 14.6 -0.6 10.2 26th 39.8 27.7 high 144%
Kerang 32.8 +1.1 44.9 31st 15.7 +0.5 10.4 17th 43.5 23.6 high 184%
Kyabram 32.3 +1.8 46.2 31st 14.9 +0.3 9.5 1st 76.4 34.3 high 223%
Upper North (district 81)
Bendigo Airport 30.9 +0.7 43.6 31st 13.6 -0.8 7.4 24th 49.8 33.7 high 148%
Shepparton Airport 32.4 +0.3 45.9 31st 15.4 0.0 9.6 24th 54.0 28.2 high 191%
Tatura Inst Sustainable Ag 30.8 +1.0 44.6 31st 14.8 +0.5 11.1 1st 48.4 33.5 high 144%
Yarrawonga 33.2 +0.3 46.0 31st 15.7 -0.3 10.6 1st 54.2 34.1 high 159%
Lower Northeast (district 82)
Benalla Airport 32.0 -0.6 44.9 31st 14.9 -1.0 8.1 24th 37.3 38.4 average 97%
Dartmouth Reservoir 30.6 +1.1 42.2 31st 14.2 +0.3 8.5 25th 56.6 62.2 average 91%
Hunters Hill 27.5 +1.4 38.8 4th 14.9 +0.4 8.4 24th 69.6 65.1 average 107%
Rutherglen Research 33.3 +1.8 46.2 31st 13.3 -0.5 7.2 24th 29.0 36.4 average 80%
Strathbogie 28.7 +1.2 42.0 31st 10.7 -1.1 3.6 24th 44.2 48.1 average 92%
Wangaratta Aero 32.7 +0.6 45.6 31st 13.8 -0.5 9.1 24th 29.8 42.7 average 70%
Upper Northeast (district 83)
Falls Creek 19.3 +1.4 29.6 4th 8.9 0.0 0.8 12th 83.6 110.9 average 75%
Mount Buller 18.7 +1.2 29.4 31st 9.5 +0.5 1.1 11th 114.4 78.2 high 146%
Mount Hotham 18.4 +1.9 28.2 4th 8.2 0.0 0.6 12th
Omeo 27.0 -0.6 38.9 31st 10.3 -1.2 4.5 2nd 82.0 52.2 high 157%
East Gippsland (district 84)
Gabo Island Lighthouse 22.3 +1.0 27.9 31st 17.2 +1.4 13.3 6th 20.4 69.4 low 29%
Gelantipy 24.7 +0.6 39.2 31st 11.6 -0.2 7.0 6th 67.6 61.3 average 110%
Lakes Entrance (Eastern Beach Road) 23.4 -1.3 37.2 31st 14.2 -1.0 9.1 1st 84.8 41.9 high 202%
Mount Nowa Nowa 25.2 +0.2 42.4 31st 14.0 -0.4 9.7 6th 91.0 59.9 high 152%
Orbost 26.2 -0.2 41.2 4th 14.5 -0.4 9.7 13th
West Gippsland (district 85)
Bairnsdale Airport 25.6 -0.4 43.8 31st 13.4 +0.4 7.8 1st 127.6 49.6 highest 257%
Corner Inlet (Yanakie) 23.4   37.0 31st 13.1   7.1 1st 81.8
East Sale 26.0 +0.4 43.3 31st 13.4 +0.5 8.9 1st 82.2 44.9 high 183%
East Sale Airport 26.2   43.2 31st 13.4   9.5 1st 94.0
Morwell (Latrobe Valley Airport) 26.5 -0.2 42.7 31st 12.5 -0.4 5.4 1st 79.6 47.7 v high 167%
Mount Moornapa 25.5 -0.2 43.3 31st 13.0 -0.4 7.8 6th 226.2 69.4 highest 326%
Nilma North (Warragul) 25.4   41.6 31st 12.5   5.0 1st 92.6
Pound Creek 24.7 -0.7 41.6 31st 12.1 -0.9 6.7 3rd 92.2 37.6 v high 245%
Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse 21.7 +1.4 35.0 30th 15.0 +0.9 12.1 6th 101.6 51.5 v high 197%
Yarram Airport 25.2 -0.8 43.9 31st 12.3 -0.8 4.8 1st 89.6 39.7 high 226%
East Central (district 86)
Cerberus 25.5 +0.9 42.2 31st 13.3 -0.6 7.0 1st 87.0 38.8 v high 224%
Coldstream 28.1 0.0 42.5 31st 11.1 -0.9 3.8 1st 118.0 45.6 highest 259%
Essendon Airport 27.8 +1.2 43.4 31st 14.2 +0.5 11.0 1st 115.2 43.2 v high 267%
Ferny Creek 23.8   38.3 31st 12.5   7.1 24th 180.8
Melbourne (Olympic Park) 26.9   42.9 31st 15.1   11.7 24th 115.2
Melbourne Airport 27.8 +1.2 43.6 31st 13.7 -0.2 9.3 1st 101.8 41.2 highest 247%
Moorabbin Airport 26.9 +1.0 43.7 31st 14.0 -0.3 10.0 1st 106.8 44.9 v high 238%
Rhyll 24.7 +0.7 37.7 31st 15.5 -0.1 12.3 5th 80.8 37.6 v high 215%
Scoresby Research Institute 27.4 +1.0 42.2 31st 13.0 -0.4 7.8 1st 138.4 53.2 v high 260%
Viewbank 28.5 +0.4 43.9 31st 13.5 -1.2 8.4 1st 109.6 43.0 highest 255%
West Central (district 87)
Avalon Airport 26.9 +0.3 44.3 31st 13.3 -0.9 9.4 1st
Breakwater (Geelong Racecourse) 26.2   43.4 31st 13.9   10.1 1st 74.0
Laverton RAAF 26.6 +0.8 44.1 31st 14.1 +0.2 9.5 1st 87.0 40.1 v high 217%
Sheoaks 26.7 +0.6 42.4 31st 12.3 -0.1 6.4 1st 49.4 34.3 high 144%
North Central (district 88)
Castlemaine Prison 28.9 +0.6 41.5 31st 13.3 +0.1 5.0 24th 55.9 40.1 high 139%
Eildon Fire Tower 27.1 -0.4 40.8 31st 13.2 -0.5 7.5 17th 77.4 42.2 high 183%
Lake Eildon 29.9 +0.8 42.8 31st 12.5 -0.3 6.7 1st 103.4 47.4 v high 218%
Mangalore Airport 30.9 +1.0 44.9 31st 14.1 -0.2 6.8 24th 57.2 40.7 high 141%
Maryborough 29.5 +0.6 43.0 31st 13.7 +0.7 8.2 24th 38.4 31.1 high 123%
Puckapunyal Lyon Hill (Defence) 30.1   44.9 31st 14.9   8.6 24th 69.0
Puckapunyal West (Defence) 29.8   43.4 31st 14.2   8.4 24th 53.2
Redesdale 31.3 +1.5 44.4 31st 12.2 -1.1 4.2 24th 25.6 33.8 average 76%
Wallan (Kilmore Gap) 25.9 +0.7 40.5 31st 12.2 -0.2 8.2 17th 84.0 47.6 high 176%
Western Plains (district 89)
Ararat Prison 28.7 +1.6 40.5 31st 11.9 +0.7 6.1 1st 41.8 38.8 average 108%
Ballarat Aerodrome 26.3 +1.1 39.4 31st 11.8 +0.8 5.9 24th 70.0 39.4 high 178%
Westmere 28.3 -0.3 43.3 31st 10.5 -0.8 3.6 1st 28.2 39.4 average 72%
West Coast (district 90)
Aireys Inlet 24.7 +1.6 43.5 31st 13.9 -0.2 10.3 1st 59.0 37.3 high 158%
Cape Nelson Lighthouse 21.3 -0.2 38.9 30th 14.5 -0.2 10.6 23rd 26.4 32.1 average 82%
Cape Otway Lighthouse 21.8 +0.4 39.8 31st 14.2 +0.9 11.3 23rd 43.6 43.7 average 100%
Casterton 27.3 -1.0 41.3 30th 11.0 -1.2 4.6 21st 23.0 32.5 average 71%
Dartmoor 26.3 -0.8 42.5 30th     5.1 1st 14.2 33.7 low 42%
Hamilton Airport 27.2 +0.5 41.3 31st 11.2 0.0 4.9 1st 23.8 32.6 average 73%
Port Fairy AWS 22.8 +0.1 41.3 30th 13.6 -0.5 8.6 1st 17.6 30.3 average 58%
Portland (Cashmore Airport) 21.8 -0.3 34.7 31st 12.4 +0.1 6.6 7th 36.2 35.8 average 101%
Warrnambool Airport NDB 24.6 -0.1 41.1 30th 11.4 -0.4 6.3 1st 21.2 32.9 average 64%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists the main features of the weather in Victoria using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 10 am on Monday 3 February 2020. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
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Enquiries

Climate