VICTORIA appears set for a New Year's heatwave, with temperatures up to 40C tipped for early January.
Yesterday the mercury hit 31C in Melbourne and 34C in Victoria's northwest so, Test cricket aside, the beach was the place to be with thousands of holidaymakers heading to the coast.
Revellers lapped up the waves at St Kilda and Elwood yesterday before a cool change whipped through the city about 4pm, causing the temperature to plummet 10C in half an hour.
Weather bureau senior forecaster Terry Ryan said a build-up of hot air inland could lead to searing conditions for much of the state next week.
"Much of Australia's going to be under the influence of this hot air mass.
"Better make the most of the cool days in between now and when it starts," Mr Ryan said.
Firefighters are also keeping an eye on the sweltering conditions for different reasons, with the CFA to consider stacking on extra resources.
Firefighters battled more than 124 grass and bushfires around the state yesterday.
State Duty Officer Stephen Walls said six water-bombing aircraft were called in to assist more than 20 units struggling to control a 500ha grass fire near Cope Cope, in Victoria's northwest.
"Today was fairly challenging. It wasn't as bad as it could've been, but we did have strong winds and some of those areas are reasonably remote," he said.
Read more on the Herald Sun.