Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Summer scorcher hits Shepparton

Despite the thermometer not hitting the forecast temperature of 41°C yesterday, The Bureau of Meteorology is warning there is no relief in sight until next week.

DARREN LINTON January 5, 2013 4:50am

Shepparton's Grace Makepeace seeks refuge in the water as temperatures reached 39.5°C yesterday.

Despite a forecast temperature of 41°C, Shepparton reached a daytime maximum of 39.5°C yesterday.

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning there is no relief in sight until next week.

Weather services assistant director Alasdair Hainsworth said the very high temperatures now extending eastwards across the continent are being driven by an extremely hot air mass.

“Extreme heat events, such as this one, have wide-ranging impacts across agricultural and horticultural sectors, infrastructure and transport, and not least human health and safety,” Mr Hainsworth said.

“Another concern is the amount of vegetation following two wet years, which has led to high fuel loads, that continue to dry out and raise concerns about increased bushfire risk. Fast-moving grassfires are of particular concern.’’

Shepparton was warm throughout Thursday night and Friday morning with a low of 19.2°C recorded at 5.30am. From there the temperature climbed steadily, reaching 25°C at 8am, 30°C by 9.30am and 35°C by noon.

An hour later it was already 37.2°C and a few hours later at 4.30pm Shepparton hit the 39.5°C mark.

While parts of the state including Melbourne will get some relief from the heat today northern regions will have to wait until at least Tuesday.

‘‘In the north I don’t think it’s really going to make that much of an impact,’’ Bureau of Meteorology duty meteorologist Dean Sgarbossa said

‘‘Tomorrow (Saturday) we’re still expecting high temperatures, up to the low 40s in the north.’’

The weather caused delays for V/Line passengers as heat speed restrictions were put in place on the Seymour and Shepparton lines.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan urged all Victorians to ensure they are prepared and have fire plans in place.

‘‘We are at the brink of our sternest test for the year 2012-13 bushfire season,’’ he said.

Mr Ryan said if people in regional areas were unsure whether to stay or to go, they should go.

‘‘Don’t think about it until it is too late,’’ he said.

Country Fire Authority chief officer Euan Ferguson also warned ‘‘waiting and seeing’’ could prove to be a fatal mistake because on a bad day fires can travel extremely quickly.

‘‘Smoke on the horizon can be a fire on your doorstep in minutes,’’ he said.

For more weather coverage be sure to pick up a copy of today’s Shepparton News.

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