Gloomy, wet new year to continue before heatwave

Victoria’s gloomy and wet start to the new year is set to continue before a weekend heatwave arrives to deliver some much-needed summer sun.

Parts of the state have already been hit by almost 200mm since the clock ticked over midnight on January 1 as a “pretty moist” southeasterly stream of rain hangs over southern Victoria.

Weather bureau senior forecaster Callum Stuart said it had been a “pretty unsettled” start to 2021 and the gloomy conditions were expected to stay around until Thursday.

“We’re still seeing really moist southeasterly flow pumping in, so that looks like it might line up over Melbourne on Monday night,” he said.

“We’ve got this kind of gloomy, drizzly day in the city at the moment, and in the overnight period we’ll see that tend to periods of rain.

“We could see some totals of 10 to 20mm throughout the city but isolated pockets up to 30mm.”

Mr Stuart said it was tricky to predict which parts of the city would record the heaviest falls, but it was looking more likely to be the western and central suburbs.

He said thunderstorms were also developing in the northeast of the state that could lead to a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall.

The Otway Ranges have had the heaviest falls of the year so far with Mount Sabine recording 194mm since Sunday, while Mount Cowley near Lorne was drenched with 140mm.

“It wasn’t really flash flooding rainfall rates, it was more around 10mm per hour, but just the consistent nature of it led to some flash flooding around the campgrounds,” Mr Stuart said.

“It is certainly not the most typical summer weather.

“There’s a trough that’s sitting over eastern Bass Strait and it’s circulating this very moist air around it which is coming back onshore around western and central Victoria, so that’s what is driving these gloomy and raining conditions over the next few days.

“We are in a pretty mature La Nina event, so generally it’s a bit wetter over the eastern seaboard with these types of events.”

Mr Stuart said it would start to heat up across the continent later in the week as the trough moved to the east and a ridge of high pressure arrived from the west.

From Thursday until Sunday, Victoria is expecting temperatures in the mid to high 20s in the south and nudging the high 30s and early 40s in the north.

“Monday next week is looking like a pretty warm one across the board with temperatures in the mid to high 30s across most of the state,” Mr Stuart said.

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