Heatwave hits Victoria

Hot: The state is set to welcome in the New Year by warming up.

Alyssa Fritzlaff

Very warm temperatures will bring in the New Year across Victoria, with forecasts in the high 30s set for Latrobe Valley and the rest of the state.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a severe heatwave for some parts of Victoria, with other parts classified as a low intensity heatwave.

Today, the Valley is set to reach a high of 32 degrees.

The heat will ramp up moving toward the weekend, with Friday and Saturday both expected to reach 37 degrees. Sunday is set to reach 34.

For West, South and East Gippsland the Department of Health’s heat health temperature threshold is 30 degrees. Once the temperature reaches above this point the risk of heat-related illness and death increases substantially, according to the Department of Health’s heat health alerts webpage.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the UV index is expected to reach 12 (extreme), which will lower slightly on Sunday, January 2, to 11 (extreme).

The Country Fire Authority have warned people who are living in or travelling to regional areas to monitor fire conditions.

Currently the Fire Danger Ratings for the long weekend are forecast Very High.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said that the heat will be accompanied by hot and dry winds, and warned Victorians to stay alert.

“On hot, dry and windy days like the ones we are expecting this weekend, anyone in regional areas of Victoria, and even on the metropolitan fringe, needs to stay alert to conditions, make sure they have downloaded the VicEmergency app and stay informed,” he said.

“For anyone planning to travel this weekend, it’s really important to make sure you know which fire weather district you will be in and travel through.

“You also need to look at the Fire Danger Ratings daily and if the Fire Danger Rating is Severe, reconsider your need to travel. Don’t travel to areas with an Extreme or Code Red Fire Danger Rating,” he added.

Extreme heat can affect anyone, however those most at risk include people over the age of 65, people taking medications that effect the way the body responds to heat, people with medical conditions, pregnant women and young children/babies.

The Department of Health recommends the following: 

  •  Never leave kids, adults or pets in hot cars.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Keep yourself cool by using wet towels, putting your feet in cool water and taking cool (not cold) showers.
  • Block out the sun at home during the day by closing curtains and blinds.
  • Avoid heavy activity like sport, renovating and gardening.

For more information on coping with extreme heat, visit: https://www.health.vic.gov.au/environmental-health/extreme-heat-community-resources 

To keep up to date on forecasts and warnings, visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/index.php