heat wave

Dangerous heatwave building across Victoria

Sunday will be the hottest in the north-west with temperatures predicted to soar to around 44 degrees Celsius in Mildura, six hours north-west of Melbourne, as the heat begins to build.

A mass of hot air is being strengthened by a cyclone brewing off the West Australian coast.

"Monday will be the warmest day for much of Victoria including the Melbourne area," said Diana Eadie, from the Bureau of Meteorology.

"We're expecting the temperature to be around 41 or 42 degrees.

Australia heatwave forecast with temperatures to top 40C

Severe heatwave conditions are set to stretch across the continent - from north-west to the south-east - as heat is drawn down from the centre.

Tracts of the country face severe heatwave conditions and this will not be a one-day affair.

To hit the official criteria for a heatwave, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) requires "three days or more of high maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for that location" - the heat is expected to hang around all the way into next week.