A week of heat ahead
Northerly winds are set to bring intense hot weather to Melbourne with tempertures exceeding 40 degrees around Victoria this week.PT1M46S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30p7q 620 349 January 13, 2014
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Commuters be warned: Melbourne's heatwave is expected to peak just on home-time for the next few days.
As commuters leave their air-conditioned offices on Monday, the temperature is expected to reach a high of 35 degrees about 6pm.
Andrew and Bridgette Sweetman enjoy the hot weather at Williamstown beach.. Photo: Pat Scala
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Richard Carlyon said this pattern was expected to repeat itself throughout the week, with each day's expected top to arrive between 4pm and 6pm.
The week's hottest days are expected on Tuesday and Thursday, with forecasts of 41. The heatwave is expected to finish on Friday with a high of 40 degrees before a cool change.
Mr Carlyon said he did not expect any all-time records to be broken this week. The hottest run of days over 40 degrees is five, a record set in 1908.
"It is pretty hard to break all-time records, but we could get four in a row over 40," Mr Carlyon said.
"It only has to be a little bit hotter."
On Thursday the forecast is for 39 degrees.
Mr Carlyon said he did not expect temperatures to rise to the hottest January day on record, which is 45.6 degrees on Black Friday, on this day in 1939.
While commuters might need to be wary of the hot commute home, Metro Trains spokeswoman Larisa Tait said the summer timetable meant there would not be any heat-related train cancellations.
She said the "thinned out" services in summer – to allow for works on the Regional Rail Link and the Mitcham level crossing – meant there were gaps in the timetable and trains would not bank up.
Trains can travel at up to 110 km/h on some parts of the network, but on days of extreme heat [above 38 degrees] the steel tracks can expand and as a safety precaution a speed restriction of 80 km/h is introduced.
Dr Stephen Parnis, Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association, warned Victorians to be aware of the effects of extreme heat including confusion, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting.
‘‘Hospital admissions increase during extreme heat, with the elderly and young children more prone to heat stroke and fluid loss,’’ Dr Parnis said.
‘‘When the body cannot cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature, many people experience dizziness, fainting, exhaustion, heat stroke and a worsening of existing medical conditions.’’
He said it was important to check on elderly parents and neighbours because they may be in distress.
‘‘We remind all drivers not to leave children unattended in a car, even with the windows down. This is a criminal offence in Victoria as it can have fatal consequences. The temperature inside a parked car can be as much as 20 degrees to 30 degrees higher than the outside temperature,’’ he said.
If venturing into the sun, Dr Parnis warned people to wear a hat, long-sleeve clothing and sunscreen and to carry a water bottle. He said strenuous exercise should be avoided.