State swelters but relief is in sight

Crowds have flocked to St Kilda Beach as the temperature soars.
Crowds have flocked to St Kilda Beach as the temperature soars.

Victoria's heatwave is expected to peak between 4pm and 5pm, meaning a sweltering ride home for commuters.

But the good news is a cool change will come through around 10pm - earlier than had been expected - leading to an easier night's sleep for Melbournians.

A spokeswoman for Metro said the system was running smoothly and there would be no speed restrictions coming into effect today.

Country rail commuters will have to endure a slower ride home because of speed restrictions that come into effect when the temperature rises above 36 degrees.

V/Line spokesman James Kelly said the restrictions would apply between noon and 8pm. Trains that normally run at 160 km/h would be slowed to 100 km/h, he said, leading to delays of between 10 and 20 minutes.

Ballarat line commuters have been further inconvenienced by a non-suspicious death on the line just after 12pm that has forced trains to be replaced by buses until 4 o'clock.

A spokeswoman for the Country Fire Authority said there was a small bushfire this morning near the Wimmera town of Edenhope but that had been brought under control.

A number of small fires have broken out this afternoon with one at Locksley, near the Hume Freeway, requiring 13 fire units. However the fire has been listed as "controlled" by the CFA.

Another small fire at Lillicur, near Avoca, is being tackled by eight units and is listed as "going" by the CFA.

"There's a possible storm forecast out in the west that could bring dry lightening. But it could be followed by rain which would be handy for the fire situation."

John Myers, spokesman for the Great Victorian Bike Ride, said the 4000 riders had made an early start today to avoid the heat and most had already done today's leg – an 80 kilometre stretch from Traralgon to Yarragon.

Gippsland, where the Ride is currently taking place, is the coolest part of the state with temperatures still to top 30 degrees in many places.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Stewart said Victoria was still headed for near-record or record November temperatures, with the heat expected to peak between 4pm and 5pm.

Mr Stewart said Melbourne could expect a cool change to hit about 10pm, reducing the temperature from 33 degrees to 25 degrees about midnight. Towns further inland, however, would not feel the change, he said.

As of mid-afternoon, Mildura has topped 43 degrees, Swan Hill 42, and Horsham 41. Melbourne is 37.

This story State swelters but relief is in sight first appeared on The Age.