Melbourne is on target for its hottest March on record despite a cool end to the month, according to weatherzone.com.au.
Both nights and days have been much warmer than normal up until today.
Overnight minimum temperatures have averaged 17.2 degrees and overnight maximums 28.5 degrees, both four degrees warmer than the long-term norm.
"A cooler change due tonight is highly unlikely to be strong enough to prevent this month from being a record hot one," weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.
Even with the final four nights and days of the month expected to average about 13 and 22 degrees respectively, this will turn out to be the hottest March on record.
Taking these forecasts into account, overnight minimum temperatures will end up averaging about 16.8 degrees and maximums about 27.6 degrees. This would put nights in the top two warmest on record and days in the top three hottest on record.
The hottest March in terms of daytime maximum temperatures was 28.9 degrees in 1940. The warmest March in terms of overnight minimums was 16.8 degrees in 1974.
Combining nights and days this month the average temperature will be about 22.2 degrees, more than three degrees above average.
The previous hottest March in 157 years of records was in 1934 when the average temperature was 21.5 degrees (days averaged 27.8 degrees and nights averaged 15.1 degrees).
This months' heat has been helped along by 11 days of 30 degrees or hotter (second only to the March record of 14 days in 1940) and a record warm night of 26.5 degrees.
"Summer has dragged on into autumn with the aid of clearer-than-normal skies and a lack of strong fronts. For much of the month a high pressure system has been stationed over the Tasman Sea, deflecting cold fronts south of Victoria and keeping winds northerly." Dutschke said.
Today is an example of how late this heat is.
It has been eight years since Melbourne has exceeded 33 degrees this late in the season.
"There's a chance of reaching 35 degrees today, which would make it the hottest it has been this deep into autumn in since 1940."
For those fed up with the extended summer, the next few nights and days will be refreshingly cooler.
"Rain will develop tonight and ease tomorrow. For Easter weekend most of the city will be dry for ninety percent of the time. Showers will be mainly over Mornington Peninsula and will generally be light, brief and infrequent." Dutschke said.
© Weatherzone 2013
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