You thought you had it bad? At least you are not a Syrian brown bear, although Honey did get to enjoy a very special ice block yesterday — filled with fish, vegetables, fruit, meat and of course strawberry topping. Honey will need more as the next three days are all tipped to top 40 degrees.
Melburnians baked on Tuesday - with temperatures in the city almost hitting 43 degrees - as firefighters battled outbreaks into the evening.
A fire continued to burn on the Mornington Peninsula on Tuesday evening with the Country Fire Authority issuing a warning to residents of Dromana, Rosebud, Arthurs Seat and McCrae at 6.17pm.
A CFA spokeswoman said the fire had now been contained, but confirmed a café and historic homestead had been extensively damaged by the fire.
Metro staff hose down the hot railway tracks near Southern Cross Station. Photo: Angela Wylie
Nine News named the property as Heronswood House, reporting the fire engulfed the cafe and offices at the property, but spared the main building. Spot fires and ember attacks have been reported behind houses in the area.
The heat is also placing demand on Melbourne’s power grid, with major blackouts in Brunswick, Toorak, Prahran, Hawthorn and Balwyn.
Melbourne heats up
A young man does a flying dive from the Frankston Jetty. Photo: Justin McManus
At the peak of the outages more than 7000 homes were without power, with the electricity now restored in Toorak and Prahran.
At about 7pm, when temperatures of 41 degrees were recorded in Melbourne, CitiPower reported more than 6000 people in the Brunswick area were without power.
Homes in Camberwell, Northcote, Kew and Port Melbourne are also without electricity.
CitiPower is anticipating services will be restored in most areas by midnight.
And the scorcher is set to continue, with Melbourne set to face a “once in a lifetime” string of 40 degree days, with no reprieve forecast until the weekend.
An unpleasant overnight low of 28 degrees forecast for the city, with a chance of thunderstorms.
A total fire ban has been issued for the state of Victoria on Wednesday.
The Country Fire Authority had previously issued the ban for only part of the state.
The temperature climbed slowly throughout Tuesday, hitting 40 degrees at 1.30pm, 41.6 at 3.30pm and 42.8 at just before 4pm.
The heat disrupted the evening commute with Metro announcing speed restrictions were in place due to the heat.
"Please expect trains to be delayed by up to 15 minutes during tonight’s peak," Metro tweeted.
Ongoing speed restrictions are currently in place due to the heat. Please expect trains to be delayed by up to 15 mins during tonight's peak— Metro Trains (@metrotrains) January 14, 2014
Fairfax Media has heard reports that Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala was at Richmond Station, talking with passengers and apologising for delays.
A Metro Trains spokeswoman said a power issue affecting signals had caused services to be suspended on the Williamstown line, with buses replacing trains between Newport and Williamstown Station.
Power outage in Brunswick area holding booms down at Park St, Brunswick Rd, Union St, Dawson St, Albert St level crossings.Ping @VicRoads
— Metro Trains (@metrotrains) January 14, 2014
Services have now resumed on the Upfield Line after they were suspended between North Melbourne and Coburg.
The boom gates were down at the Park Street, Brunswick Road, Union Street, Dawson Street and Albert Street level crossings, causing traffic delays.
In some parts of the state, temperatures climbed to over 45 degrees.
Charlton, in the Mallee, was the hottest place, hitting 46.3 at 3.31pm, while also in the Mallee, Longerenong recorded 46 degrees at 3.15pm and Hopetoun Airport reached 45.7 at 3pm.
Swan Hill hit 45.2 degrees at 3.10pm and Mildura got to 44.8 at 3.20pm.
The next four days will be the state’s hottest stretch of weather since January 2009.
Melbourne is forecast to face four consecutive days of 40-degree-plus temperatures as tomorrow’s top has now been revised from 39 to 41.
This streak will not break the record of five consecutive days set in January 1908, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Forecaster Stuart Coombs said: “It’s something you might see once in a lifetime".
“We are now expecting maximum temperatures tomorrow, Thursday and Friday will all to be in excess of 40 degrees,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a top of up to 46 degrees for some Victorian towns, including Birchip, north east of Melbourne.
Meanwhile, firefighters are battling to control a grass fire in Kangaroo Ground in Melbourne’s north east.
The Country Fire Authority downgraded its warning to ‘watch and act’ just after 5.30pm, about 90 minutes after an emergency warning was issued as the out-of-control blaze moved towards major roads including Kangaroo Ground-St Andrews Road, Eltham Yarra Glen Rd and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road.
About 30 firefighting vehicles and five aircraft were used to battle the fire.
Earlier on Tuesday a grassfire burning near Little River was bought under control. Police are investigating the cause of the fire, which started near the site of another fire that was deliberately lit exactly one year earlier.
Detective Senior Constable Steven Oakley, who is investigating last year’s blaze, said the arson attack remained unsolved.
The 1400-hectare blaze threatened hundreds of homes.
He said it was too early to link Tuesday’s fire to last year’s firebug, but arson chemists would determine whether there were any similarities in how the blaze was ignited.
The grassfire spread rapidly from Edgars Road south towards Bulban Road and the Little River township but was brought under control just after 1.30pm.
An emergency warning was issued for residents and a water bombing aircraft was called in to help battle the blaze, which required 30 trucks to bring under control.
The warning was downgraded to ’watch and act’ early on Tuesday afternoon.
Country Fire Authority also issued an emergency warning just before 4pm for the towns of Sunbury and Diggers Rest, which was downgraded shortly afterwards.
The grass fire had resulted in the closure of the Calder Freeway, although most lanes are now open.
- Alana Schetzer, Nino Bucci and Mustafa Nuristani