According to Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins, the warm start to the year will increase the risk of fire.
“The outlook for the first quarter of 2017 suggests a dry and warm start to the year, particularly in eastern Australia, with raised fire potential,” Dr Watkins said.
“Summer is underway, and we’ve already had bushfires, heatwaves and storms.”
Maximum temperature is likely to average about 27 degrees up until March, and minimum expected to be about 13 degrees.
Average maximum temperatures are likely to be at their highest in the north of the state, with Mildura expected to average 31.4 degrees and Echuca expected to average 29.5 degrees.
Average minimum temperatures are expected to be at their lowest in the north east of the state, with Combienbar expected to average a minimum of 8.5 degrees.
Dr Watkins said above average rainfall in 2016 meant water storages would be at healthier levels in early 2017 than normal.
“After a very dry start to the year, it was Australia’s wettest May to September on record, bringing flooding to parts of the east,” he said.
“The rain also meant soil moisture was very high across eastern Australia through to October.”
Rainfall is expected to be at its highest in the central to western parts of the state, with Mount Baw Baw likely to receive at least 150 millimetres (mm) of rain from January to March, and Bonang and Mt Hotham to receive at least 100mm.
Rainfall is expected to be at its lowest in the north-west of the state, with the Mallee region expected to receive no more than 25mm of rain.