VICTORIANS sweltered as 2012 began and ended with stifling temperatures.
In the first week of 2012, authorities issued urgent health warnings and the Country Fire Authority declared a total fire ban for the central, Mallee, southwest and Wimmera districts as temperatures reached 40C.
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That heat will be matched this year, with highs of 39C in Melbourne and 45C in Swan Hill forecast for Friday.
Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said that from tomorrow northern Victoria could be in for a heatwave for the next week and a half.
"Parts of the Mallee are expected to average 40C for a week," Mr Dutschke said.
"January is going to be a hot month but February will be less extreme."
Mr Dutschke said Ouyen had the hottest day last year, with 45.8C on November 29, breaking the November state record.
Mt Hotham was the coldest at -8.0C on July 6.
The driest place was Pirlta in the Mallee, with just 125mm of rain for the year. This was a stark contrast to Rocky Valley, near Falls Creek, which received 2246mm of rain, down from its long-term average of 2344mm.
The wettest day was recorded at Pennyroyal Creek, with 223mm on February 10 - more than five times the February average for the area.
Mallacoota received 130 per cent of its average rainfall, up to 1201mm from 928mm.
Walpeup had less than half its annual average rainfall, receiving just 160mm compared with 336mm.
Mr Dutschke said the state's weather had an east-west divide, with the west drier and hotter than average and the east colder and wetter.
"There were very few rain bands coming in from the northwest, which meant moisture was reduced dramatically during autumn," he said.
"There wasn't a lot of moisture associated with the strongest cold front either.
"Most of the rain came from small low pressure systems in the Bass Strait, which were quite localised and brought a lot of rain to Gippsland."
As for the year ahead, Mr Dutschke said the state would experience near average temperatures throughout autumn and winter.
"It will stay this way until at least late spring when there are good chances of it being hotter than average again," he said.
"Rainfall will be pretty close to average."
The Bureau of Meteorology refused to comment.