Over the the next five days, Victoria is in for the longest heatwave experienced here in recorded times.
Today will be the start of five days of unrelenting scorchers with temperatures soaring to the 40s.
The last time Melbourne had a heatwave of this intensity was a century ago when it suffered through five days of stultifying heat with temperatures in the 40s in January 1908.
The stifling heat will extend across the state, with the only respite in coastal areas such as Airey's Inlet, where sea breezes can be expected.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Terry Ryan warned yesterday: "This will be the worst heatwave in a hundred years."
The Country Fire Authority and the Department of Sustainability and Energy jointly cautioned yesterday of the high fire danger ahead with conditions extreme, particularly in the north of the State.
They urged anyone seeing smoke or fire in bushland to call 000 immediately.
The heatwave will arrive today with an expected maximum of 38 degrees, 41 on Wednesday and 40 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The gruelling heat will not ease until Sunday, when the maximum temperature will slip to around 30 degrees.
Melbourne last suffered through a severe heatwave in 1959 with three days in a row of temperatures in the 40s.
The 1908 heatwave, which ran from January 16 to 20, forced men to abandon jackets when going to work while women freed themselves of restrictive laced-up corsets, according to reports at the time.
This week's heatwave comes in the driest January since 1932 when just 0.3 of a millimetre rain fell in Melbourne.
Rainfall this month has been 0.8 of a millimetre. With the Bureau predicting no further rain this month, it is set to be the second driest January in 159 years of record keeping.
The big dry has left Melbourne's water storages levels at 33.6pc capacity.
However, there are reassurances that Victoria has sufficient electricity supplies to meet the air-conditioner-fuelled surge in demand expected during this week's scorching temperatures.
Paul Bird, of the National Electricity Marketing Management Company, said the State would have power in reserve even as householders switch on their air-conditioners to beat the heat.
Mr Bird said high overnight temperatures would mean that air-conditioners were left on longer.
But despite the prolonged hot spell, Victoria was not expected to reach its power demand record daily use of 9818 megawatts set in March last year, he said.
And even if that record level was reached, Victoria would still have plenty of power in reserve.
Mr Bird said new power sources had been added in Victoria and interstate as part of the national grid.
But despite that extra power, Victoria was still not immune to disruptions in supply, he warned.
"The amount of power that is in reserve is at a level that can meet needs during most events, we can't guarantee against multiple events happening," he said.
Bushfires in January 2007 caused blackouts across Melbourne that caused the loss of power supplies to 205,000 customers.
"Obviously if there was a number of things to happen on the grid simultaneously then you can't guard against that sort of thing," Mr Bird said.
Victoria's energy use has increased by 2-3pc or about 200 to 300 megawatts a year, he said.
"If you do the sums over the past four or five years, that is a reasonable increase."
Mr Bird said people were aware of the need to save energy.
"I think people are probably more focused on that than they have been in the past and not running air-conditioners when they are not in the house and those sort of things."
State Government spokesman Matthew Hillard said there was enough electricity to meet demand.
"But we would always encourage Victorians to conserve energy where they can," he said.
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