SUMMER arrived early and it packed a wallop, as Ballarat sizzled through its third hottest November day on record yesterday.
The mercury rose to 36 degrees by 3.50pm, making yesterday Ballarat’s hottest day since January.
The city just fell short of its official November heat record of 37.3 degrees, set in 1982.
But not according to the sign at the top of Ballarat Real Estate, which said 40 degrees was reached in the centre of town, while The Courier’s own weather station peaked at 37 degrees. For those without air conditioning, the pool was a popular option yesterday.
From the opening of the gates, Eureka Swimming Pool was “absolutely flat out” all day, according to junior manager Joise Smith.
Cold Rock Ice Creamery franchisee Robyn Harmer said it was also a “very busy, very good day” for business.
“We had a massive rush between 2.30pm and 5pm,” she said.
“The warmer days certainly encourage people to come out and get an ice-cream.”
By 9am in Ballarat it was already 26 degrees, climbing to 33 degrees by 1pm and 35 degrees at 3pm.
The CFA had six major grass fires across the state, with most of the activity in central and western Victoria.
A 15ha fire burned 15km south-west of Maryborough, causing the CFA to issue a “watch and act” alert.
Power outages also struck Ballarat, affecting 660 Powercor customers.
A Powercor spokesperson said it was not known if the heat was a factor when 500 customers were blacked out between 1.30pm and 2.43pm, while a blown fuse triggered another outage at 7.15am.
Weatherzone meteorologist Mellissa Mackellar said heat building up over central Australia was dragged over the state by a north-westerly, causing temperatures to soar.
“For Mildura and Ouyen it was the hottest day since Black Saturday,” Ms Mackellar said. She said temperatures above 35 degrees were rare for Ballarat in November, but more common in December and January.
A low temperature trough was predicted to arrive overnight, bringing rain showers and thunderstorms, but Ballarat residents still faced a restless night of sleep with temperatures sitting in the low to mid-20s.
Today it will be cooler, although a hot air mass remains above the region.