Melbourne set for a wave of heat
Parts of Victoria can expect temperatures into the 40s next week with no cold front strong enough to cool the state for up to a fortnight says Weatherzone's Brett Dutschke.PT1M49S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30h0j 620 349 January 8, 2014
After a stuttering start, summer is finally about to arrive across Victoria - with a vengeance.
The weather bureau is warning of a stretch of sizzling days ahead, especially in the state's interior, with the temperature starting a climb into the 30s in the west and north today and heading for the mid-40s next week. Melbourne is forecast to hit 39 on Tuesday.
Poppy Gee, Hugh and Flynn Hanrahan have fun on the beach at Wye River on Tuesday. Photo: Pat Scala
Senior bureau forecaster Dean Stewart said maximum temperatures inland could remain in the 40s well into next week and advised people, particularly the young and the elderly. to stay indoors and keep their fluids up.
Until then, near-perfect beach conditions are forecast for the city and coastal resorts, ringing alarm bells for lifesavers.
Life Saving Victoria's Paul Shannon said there was no place for complacency, despite a relatively safe start to summer. Beach attendance remained high and the forecast was "very dangerous weather” for lifesavers.
The weather bureau is warning of a stretch of hot days. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
“Even when ocean conditions look gentle and innocuous, the ocean's a fluid entity that can be extremely dangerous,” he said.
“[Last year] we had a couple of incidents where people were swimming at unpatrolled beaches and people got into trouble trying to save other people. It came down to the fact that people were swimming in dangerous areas.
There have been two drownings in Victorian waters since December 1 - one at an inland waterway and the other in a boating accident on Port Phillip. So far this summer there have been no beach drownings, despite some close calls, compared with two at unpatrolled beaches this time last year.
Melbourne's weather forecast for the next week.
Last week The Age reported the rescue of five men from an unpatrolled beach at Anglesea. The men had been warned of the dangers of not swimming between the flags and were out of sight of lifeguards when they were caught in a rip. They were lucky to be pulled from the water by passers-by.
Last financial year was the worst for beach drownings in Australia since 2002, with 13 Victorian fatalities and 65 nationally. People over the age of 55 were most at risk, according to the Royal Lifesaving Society of Australia, accounting for more than half the total deaths.
Mr Shannon said reducing drowning deaths was a matter of “having people better educated for attending the beach”, particularly among those from non-English speaking backgrounds.
He said 20 per cent of drownings involved refugees, new arrivals and international students, “so it's a significant number".
“What we want people to do this year is to prepare before they go to the beach and manage their own risk,” he said.
Life Saving Victoria reported a doubling in numbers at its multicultural learn-to-swim program this year, with more than 800 participants.
There was also an increase in youth participation, with 10,220 registered Nippers compared to 9909 last year.
Volunteer lifesavers and professional lifeguards have performed 197 rescues on Victorian beaches this summer.