MANY Victorian farmers have welcomed the early arrival of autumn rain.
More widespread rain and heavy falls are expected throughout most of the state today after the long dry finally ended through central areas.
Bendigo and district recorded about 25mm in yesterday's falls to top up empty rainwater tanks after a dry, hot summer had produced just 1mm in some areas.
Ballarat was lashed with 44mm as tropical moisture was funnelled across the state from flooded Queensland and even Cyclone Rusty in Western Australia.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a second more traditional cold front to cross the state today but the west of the state and Gippsland may miss out. There is even the chance of flooding in the parched North East with falls of more than 100mm possible.
Weary firefighters battling huge blazes in the Grampians and the alpine region will hope forecasters have underestimated the amount of rain expected in those areas.
Senior bureau meteorologist Phil King said the best falls today will be east of Shepparton, centred on Wangaratta. "There could even be some local flooding."
Mr King said yesterday's rain was the result of moist tropical air from the north.
"It has been building for a while, but finally it is our first decent rain event of the year."
Mr King said some of the moisture was being "dragged down" from Cyclone Rusty which could have a further impact on Victoria's weather in coming days.
He said a second front will form in a line from Mildura to Geelong this morning and produce even heavier falls, but little is expected in the north.
"It looks as if the North East will get most of it."
Nullawil farmer Darren Barker, in the southern Mallee, said cereal farmers were hoping for a return to a traditional autumn break and finishing spring rains this year. "We really didn't want the rain earlier but an inch or two would be pretty handy about now."
Yesterday's top falls to 9am were at Ballarat (44mm), Kyneton (39mm), Raywood (35mm), Daylesford (32mm), Castlemaine (26mm), Kerang (23mm), Berriwillock (19mm), Rochester (18mm) and Lalbert (14mm).