The heatwave is just getting started.
In the first of what is expected to be a five-day heatwave, the mercury in Ballarat peaked at 35.4 degrees at 3pm yesterday as the city sweltered through its hottest day of the year so far.
The temperature fell just short of the hottest day of the summer (36.9 degrees in December), although a new mark for the season is expected to be set today.
Forecasters predict today will reach 39 degrees, with the mercury to reach similar heights of 38, 40 and 38 for the rest of the week.
With the heat fuelling a large fire in Trawalla that was started by farming machinery, Fire Commissioner Craig Lapsley warned people that Victoria would become increasingly vulnerable as the scorching weather continued throughout the week.
“It’s not just about fire, it’s about heat, it’s about heat fatigue, it’s about the human factor about heat and how we operate and make sure we keep ourselves hydrated, cool and can think properly,” he said.
“There is nothing worse than day after day where all gets a little bit difficult and things are quite challenging for the person.”
Ballarat MP Catherine King called on Ballarat residents to be mindful of those around them, urging neighbours to look out for each other in the extreme heat.
“As we are facing several days of extreme temperatures in our region, I encourage people to be vigilant and look out for each other – especially to check on older, sick and frail people who may need help coping with the heat,” Ms King said.
“This will be a busy time for our emergency services and I’d like to thank all our volunteers and emergency services workers for their tireless, selfless efforts protecting our communities.”
The Australian Medical Association Victoria reminded people that it was a criminal offence to leave children unattended in cars, while the Red Cross encouraged people to visit www.redcross.org.au/beat-the-heat.aspx for a ‘coping with hot weather’ fact sheet or contact their local Red Cross office for a copy.