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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla swelters in statewide heatwave

Residents sweated last week through four consecutive days of 41°C or higher.

MONIQUE FREER January 22, 2014 4:40am

CFA volunteers feel the heat at a house fire in Shadforth St last Friday.


The weekend provided welcome relief for residents across the district as it brought to an end a statewide heatwave.

Temperatures soared above 40°C on Tuesday and remained there for four days, with nights providing little relief from the sweltering heat.

After reaching 41.2°C on Tuesday, Benalla’s maximum temperatures continued to climb, reaching 42.7°C on Wednesday, 43.3°C on Thursday and 43.1°C on Friday.

Bureau of Meteorology climate liaison officer Jonathan Pollock said the last time Benalla had a similar run of hot days was in late January, 2009.

‘‘It was only the second time Benalla has recorded four consecutive days of 41°C or greater,’’ he said.

The cool change reached the north-east on Saturday evening, with temperatures dropping to 18.6°C overnight.

Ambulance Victoria attended 20 cases of heat exhaustion in the Hume region during the week, and eight cardiac arrests.

Ambulance Victoria operations manager Paul Holman said at one point on Friday morning paramedics were seeing one cardiac arrest every six minutes.

There were 50 cases of children left in cars statewide from Monday to Friday, including one at a Cobram supermarket.

‘‘Unfortunately on the four days where the mercury was above 40, we were also called to a total of 39 cases of children left in cars,’’ Ambulance Victoria chief executive Greg Sassella said.

On Friday a record 2553 triple zero ambulance calls were answered by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, an increase of about 30 per cent on Monday’s call volume.

Thursday’s 2506 ambulance triple zero calls was the second highest number of ambulance calls ever answered by ESTA.

A Country Fire Authority strike team from District 23 was sent to assist at fires in the Mallee on Friday, with eight Benalla CFA volunteers involved.

CFA District 23 operations manager Stewart Kreltszheim said they would continue to support communities across Victoria in bushfire relief if needed.

‘‘It really depends on the activity in our district, and how far they had to go, but at the end of the day if a community in Victoria needs, we’ll dig deep and find another one (team),’’ Mr Kreltszheim said.

Two DEPI Benalla firefighters were also deployed to fires in the north-west of the state.

 

For full story see this week’s Ensign.

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