Bushfire and safety warnings as temperatures to top 35 degrees

Health authorities are warning Victorians to “take care” by the water and look out for the vulnerable during the state’s heatwave, with temperatures to climb above 40 degrees in some areas, and even hotter weather on Monday bringing “severe” fire danger.

Melbourne is expected to hit a top of 35 by late Sunday afternoon, while towns in Victoria’s far north-west including Mildura are expected to reach a high of 44 degrees.

By 10.30am, the temperature at Olympic Park in Melbourne had reached 26.9 degrees.

The city will have to swelter through a hot night too, with the temperature in Melbourne not likely to drop below 25 degrees overnight.

The hot spell will continue throughout Monday, with the Melbourne to reach a high of 40 degrees, before a cool change bringing rain is expected to arrive in the city at around 5pm.

Victoria’s west can expect rain of 10 to 20 millimetres on Monday.

Thrill seekers take a plunge off Frankston pier after high temperatures earlier this week.Credit:Joe Armao

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Jun Chen said with ‘high’ or ‘very high’ fire danger across the state on Sunday, and even more intense predictions for fire danger in dry areas on Monday, bushfires were a possibility.

“The Melbourne maximum today is still looking to be 35 degrees, but it could be a little bit hotter in the northern suburbs such as Tullamarine, depending on whether the sea breeze can get there,” she said.

“Most parts of the state will be above 40 on Monday, especially the northern areas. We’re expecting the cool change from south-west Victoria in the morning, and it will get to Melbourne by four or five o’clock.

“Tomorrow we’re going to see a severe fire danger rating in the northern part of Victoria – the Mallee, Wimmera, northern Country, North Central and North East. The wind is quite fresh with the hot temperatures, so it will be quite dry as well, before the showers get to us.”

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has urged the public to be careful when it comes to the heat and check on vulnerable people who might be more susceptible to the heat, like older Victorians.

“Please take care this weekend,” he said on Twitter. “Extreme heat across much of Victoria so please check on those most at risk.”

Health authorities are also warning for Victorians to take heed of water safety, after two men died in the water in separate incidents on Saturday.

One man died after being was pulled from the water on Thirteenth Beach in Barwon Heads on Saturday afternoon.

Police believe he was swimming with two other people about 5pm when they got into difficulty in the water. While a boy and a girl were assisted back to shore, the man was winched out of the water by chopper but died at the scene.

Another man died after being found in water off Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road. Police said two men were out in a small boat just after 2pm when their vessel overturned. While one man returned to shore, a 58-year-old man was located by lifesavers who were unable to revive him.

Ambulance Victoria said 40 Victorians had drowned since July 2020, including five people in the past week – “tragically” marking the worst loss on record in the state.

It said people should always swim between the flags at patrolled locations, supervise kids around water, slip, slop, slap and stay in the shade.

Swimmers are also being warned of “increased shark activity” around Golden Beach in Gippsland, after a dead sperm whale washed up on the beach, according to the Victorian Fisheries Authority.

“Visitors should avoid the entire length of Golden Beach and 500 metres out to sea,” the Victorian Fisheries Authority said on Twitter.

“Shark attacks in Victoria are uncommon and there has been no fatality here for 30 years. While the risk of a shark attack is extremely low, it’s important to always be mindful of sharks.”

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