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Mixed bag for weather in 2013

In northern Victoria, 2013 was characterised by a mostly dry summer and below average rainfall in autumn and spring.

LAURA GRIFFIN December 31, 2013 4:09am

The year had a dry start and a dry finish.


In northern Victoria, 2013 was characterised by a mostly dry summer and below average rainfall in autumn and spring. Exceptional weather events included localised flooding in late February, a tornado along the Victoria-NSW border and a late-season frost.

As poet Dorothea Mackellar said, Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains and the 2012-13 summer was Australia’s hottest on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Average temperatures across the country came in at 28.6°C, 1.1°C above normal, and exceeding the previous record set in the summer of 1997-98 by more than 0.1°C.

For most of Australia, it was also a dry summer. Nationally, summer rainfall was at its lowest since 2004-05 and Victoria had its driest summer since 1984-85.

It was a wet end to an otherwise dry February in northern Victoria and the southern Riverina. For example Bureau of Meteorology’s records show Shepparton’s total rainfall for February was 76mm — more than double its historic average rainfall of 33.9mm — and 57mm of the town’s total summer rainfall fell on the last day of the season.

Residents in and around Shepparton East reported rainfall totals of more than double the official Bureau of Meteorology gauge at Shepparton airport during this period, with incidences of flash flooding on February 27 and 28. Some residents sent in their rainfall data to the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority to be used in the Shepparton East Overland Flood Study. Reported rainfall ranged from 66mm to 172mm, with more than 11 residents reporting more than 130mm.

At Deniliquin, Kyabram and Benalla, as well as Shepparton, the majority of February’s rainfall occurred in the 24 hours to 9am on February 28. And in Echuca and Mangalore, the majority of the month’s rainfall was measured on February 26, 27 and 28.

February’s temperatures for the region were above average.

Total autumn rainfall recorded in Victoria’s north-east was generally slightly less than that usually recorded. Echuca, Kerang, Kyabram, Shepparton, Tatura and Strathbogie recorded low rainfall compared to historic autumn totals.

Winter 2013 in Victoria was characterised by warmer than normal days and nights across most of the state and above average rainfall in most parts including in the state’s north.

Spring rainfall was below average in Victoria’s north-east and Mallee, which affected crop yields. This dryness coupled with a sporadic frost in late October hit some wheat and canola crops hard.

Two late frosts affected some crops across north-central and north-east Victoria, including at Tungamah, Youanmite, St James, Dookie, Devenish and further west around Elmore.

Riverine Plains chair Evan Ryan said many of the group’s more than 300 members were disappointed yields would be lower than they had hoped early in the season, for example the dry spring and frost had reduced yields on his farm by an estimated 20 to 30 per cent.

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