Melbourne’s hottest New Year’s Day in more than a decade after ‘quiet’ NYE

Melbourne sweated through its hottest New Year’s Day since 2008 as the mercury crept past the forecast top of 37 degrees, before ducking back under 30 degrees following a mild cool change.

The temperature dropped to 20.5 degrees at 2.31am at Melbourne’s Olympic Park on Saturday before rising quickly, with Essendon Airport recording 37.1 degrees at 1.30pm while Olympic Park clocked 36.9.

Victorians flocked to the St Kilda foreshore early on New Year’s Day for energetic bike rides and snoozes in the sun.Credit:Joe Armao

Tom Delamotte, duty forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said a mild change which swept through the CBD at around 1.30pm only reduced temperatures to the high 20s.

“It’s a sea breeze coming up, instead of a really strong cold change like we often see on the hot days,” he said.

“It’s still in the low 30s over parts of the outer suburbs, further inland away from the bay.”

There’s little respite in sight for Melburnians, with a strong cool change not expected to arriveuntil late on Sunday.

Melbourne is forecast to dip to an overnight low of 20 degrees, before the temperature climbs to 28 degrees on Sunday.

“But think by sort of late afternoon Sunday, maybe 5pm or so, we’ll be seeing temperatures back pretty close to 20 degrees across the city as southerly winds freshen,” Mr Delamotte said.

“Then we have a run of milder conditions to mid-week and then it looks like a bit of wet weather around on Thursday or Friday which should keep a cap on temperatures.”

Saturday’s high temperatures around the state also propelled a number of bushfires, with some residents on the South Australian border being urged to leave their homes.

A Watch and Act message was issued for the communities of Langkoop, Poolaijelo and Powers Creek on Saturday afternoon, with a grass and scrub fire not yet under control.

“Weather conditions forecast for today may cause the fire to become dangerous and unpredictable and it may impact properties,” VicEmergency said online.

Advice was also being issued for Melbourne’s inner north-west, with a fire on a former ammunition factory site in Maribyrnong causing “significant amounts of smoke” and forcing road closures.

The grass fire at Raleigh Road was declared under control at 5pm on Saturday, after emergency authorities warned it could jump the Maribyrnong River from the north bank where it is contained.

More than 20 firefighting vehicles were used to control the blaze, which grew to two fire fronts after it started at about 12.30pm.

The Calder Highway fire, south of Mildura, where the road has been blocked off and traffic diverted on Saturday.

Fires also sprung up in localities such as Stawell, Ouyen, Venus Bay, Edenhope and Cheltenham on Saturday.

The heat and the quickly spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant contributed to what Victoria Police described as one of its quietest New Year’s celebrations on record.

Police arrested 48 people Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday, down from 59 last year – a historic low due to the pandemic.

Friends welcome 2022 with an early New Year’s Day walk along the St Kilda foreshore.Credit:Joe Armao

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said: “I was really pleased to see so many family groups and small groups on the beaches to celebrate really well.”

“The numbers seemed to be a bit down for what I expected they might be particularly from St Kilda down through the Bayside areas.”

Among the 48 arrests were 14 for assault, including three men who allegedly attacked an 18-year-old man outside the State Library at 1.20am, leaving him hospitalised with serious head injuries.

In another incident at 1.30am, a 28-year-old man was seriously assaulted at a taxi rank at South Wharf.

The other arrests overnight included 12 weapons offences, 11 drunkenness offences, eight drug-related offences, one robbery and two sexual assaults. Over 1000 weapons searches were conducted which uncovered mostly knives.

“The vast majority the public celebrated really respectfully and really well for which I’m very, very thankful,” Mr Nugent said.

Saturday is the city’s hottest New Year’s Day since 2008, when the temperature hit 41.2 degrees. The first day of 2012 was 33.9 degrees, and all other New Year’s Day top temperatures in between were under 30 degrees.

The city of Mildura hit 39.1 degrees just after 3pm, while Shepparton in Victoria’s north-east reached a top of 38.6 degrees at 3.20pm on Saturday.

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