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Hot, bothered ... and relief is hours away

Melbourne can expect little relief this morning from the warmest November night in 111 years, with conditions set to stay hot and sticky.

A cool change is expected, but it is likely to remain humid until the afternoon. A top of 28 is forecast for the city, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

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Heat puts pressure on infrastructure

As temperatures soared and people tried their best to beat the heat yesterday, infrastructure was put to the test across Victoria.

The temperature only dropped to 24.1 degrees in Melbourne, the warmest November night since 1901, when the temperature did not drop below 26.2 degrees.

Senior meteorologist Phil King said a change was starting to reach the edge of Port Phillip Bay and would hit between 8am and 9am, but might not be as refreshing as many would hope.

There are showers and thunderstorms near the South Australian border, which could reach Melbourne later in the day.

"It's still going to be a sticky and very humid day, with some rain in the afternoon," Mr King said.


The greatest relief overnight was at Coldstream, where the temperature dropped to 21.5.

A series of weak cool changes occurred overnight, the first about 7pm when the temperature dropped from 37.7 to 29.7 degrees, and again about 1am, when the mercury fell from 26.5 to 24.9 degrees. It fell again, albeit marginally, at 7am.

The overnight low for Friday night is expected to be a humid 19 degrees with an early high on Saturday of 26 degrees before a cool change. The temperature in the afternoon is expected to drop to about 23 degrees.

The temperature remained above 30 degrees in Melbourne until just before 10.30pm Thursday night.

The Vodafone network buckled under the heat, but the company ensured customers last night that it had fixed problems caused by an airconditioning failure at its Tullamarine switch.

Yesterday’s record-breaking heat broke another record - for electricity consumption.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, which oversees the national electricty market, Victoria’s consumption reached 9325 megawatts at 5.30pm yesterday – the highest so far for this year.

The previous high for the year was 9069 megawatts on January 24.

A typical day in November, according to the AEMO, is more like 7000 megawatts.

But while yesterday’s figure was high, it doesn’t come close to the overall record, set during the hot spell that lead to the Black Saturday bushfires.

‘‘The highest recent demand was recorded in the summer of 2009 when electricity demand reached 10494 megawatts,’’ said AEMO spokesperson Mary Tait.

A three-hectare bushfire in the state's south-west near Dartmoor was brought under control about 5.30pm yesterday.

At Seabrook, west of Melbourne, an electrical fault in a fan controller is suspected of starting a fire that forced a woman and her son to flee their home. The pair were treated for smoke inhalation.

The blaze was controlled in about 20 minutes, but destroyed one room and part of the roof of a house. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade estimated a repair bill of $50,000.

In Yarrawonga, in the state's north, a woman died in a car crash that also sparked a grass fire.

The car left the road, went over an embankment and caught fire about 4am. The woman was the only person in the car.

The fire then spread from the Benalla-Yarrawonga Road crash site to neighbouring paddocks and burnt about 48 hectares.

In a separate incident, a woman in her 30s had to be rescued when her house in Upper Ferntree Gully in Melbourne’s outer east caught fire about 8.50pm yesterday.

The woman had burns to her hands and face and was suffering smoke inhalation.

Ten fire trucks brought the fire under control by about 9.20pm, a Country Fire Authority spokesman said. It is unclear how much damage was caused, or what started the blaze.

Metro Trains spokeswoman Larisa Tait said four services were cancelled Friday morning, all because of faults rather than weather-related problems. The cancellations were on the Pakenham, Frankston
and Craigeburn lines.

With Stephen Cauchi, Deborah Gough