Feeling hot and bothered? No wonder – Melbourne on Monday had its sixth day in a row of 31 degrees or higher temperatures, the longest stretch in 14 years.
While a cool change is on its way, it isn't expected to reach the city until sunrise on Tuesday. Temperatures are unlikely to drop below 22 degrees, making for another sweltering night.
"It's been more humid than normal so it's probably felt particularly uncomfortable," said Melissa MacKellar, a meteorologist with Weatherzone.
The cool change is likely to bring showers and possibly thunderstorms but not much in the way of cooler overnight conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting minimums to remain above 18 degrees until at least Sunday, continuing the trend of above-average overnight temperatures.
Minimum temperatures have been above average every day since February 2 and are averaging 2 degrees above the norm so far for the month, Ms MacKellar said.
The past five days have seen daytime maximums across the state 5-10 degrees hotter than average.
“There are indications of some more heat certainly towards the end of February and into March,” Ms MacKellar said. “It's going to be warming up again this weekend” in Melbourne and the rest of the state, she said.
Melbourne's hot spell follows record heat across the country during January, making the September-January period the hottest on record.
“It's another part of what's been a very hot summer of a large part of the country,” Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist with the National Climate Centre, said.
The state's fire risks are likely to remain high, not least because of the lack of rainfall in the forecast period.
“There's no indication of substantial rain, at least for the western two-thirds of Victoria ,” said Dr Trewin. “You're going to have a reasonably high fire risk.”
The southern half of Western Australia is reporting the most exceptional heat so far this month, with most of the region tracking three to five degrees above normal.
Across the nation, February's average maximum temperatures are running about 1.5 degrees above normal, Dr Trewin said.
The east coast from NSW to the northern tropics is likely to see considerable rain in the next few days, but not on the scale of former tropical cyclone Oswald, Dr Trewin said.
That storm left widespread flooding in NSW and Queensland and insured losses of at least $730 million, the Insurance Council of Australia said on Friday.
Melbourne's maximum on Tuesday is expected to reach 28 degrees. Should it reach 30 because of the delayed arrival of the cool change, the seven-day streak would be the longest since 1985, Dr Trewin said.
A number of sites in northern Victoria and NSW border regions have been over 30 every day since February 3 or 4, such as Mildura, Swan Hill, Rutherglen, Albury and Corryong – but remain well short of record territory, he said. Mildura and Rutherglen, for instance, have recorded stretches of temperatures at that level for as long as 42 days.
Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.