The current warmer than normal conditions look set to continue up to the third week in our regions. Few places have had heavy thunderstorms. Dubbo received 64 mms last Monday 13th March. Most other places have had little or no rain so far this month.
A stable and settled weather pattern has now persisted for nearly three weeks and there has been an absence of frontal passages since February 18th. Melbourne has now had 16 days of maximum temperatures not falling below 23.5 degrees and this is the longest such spell for this time of year in 161 years of records. Other similar long spells this time of year were 14 days in 1974, 14 days in 1989 and 12 days in 1956 in Melbourne.
At Bendigo the maximum temperature did not fall below 29 degrees from February 26th to March 11th, 14 days, and this broke the previous records of both 1983 and 1974. A thunderstorm early on Sunday 12th March lowered the maximum to 27.6 but the temperature reached 31 the next day.
Benalla and Wangaratta are both having one of their hottest first half of March on record. So far the mean maximum is above 32 degrees not quite as high to date since March of last year. If the Mean monthly maximum temperature stays above 30; it will be the first time both places have had back to back significant warm to hot March. Not far away Echuca did have back to back significant hotter than average March's in 1892 and 1893.
The current warmer than normal conditions have at times been accompanied by above normal humidities and also significant warm nights due to cloud cover. With no great change in these conditions which also happened previously in 1974, 1983 and 1989 and to some extent in 1985 it is indicative that a significant rain event will happen by the end of March or early April in our regions.