VIDEO: Warrnambool splashes into summer (at last)

SOUTH-WEST Victoria sizzled through its hottest temperature in 10 months yesterday, with hundreds of sun-seekers hitting the city's beaches or pool.

The mercury started its ascent early in Warrnambool, peaking at 36.3 degrees at 2pm before south-westerly winds brought about a cool change to most of the south-west coast.

Hundreds of sun lovers packed the city's main beach to keep cool, although Warrnambool's forecast top temperature of 40 degrees failed to eventuate.

Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club volunteer Jakob McCorkell said a steady stream of surfers and swimmers converged on Lady Bay yesterday morning.

"It's the first true day of summer, I guess," he said. "Sun's out and we've got that northerly wind coming through."

Inland towns across the south-west sweltered more than coastal locations yesterday, with the mercury soaring as high as 39 degrees at Hamilton and Dartmoor. The Mallee and Wimmera were the only regions across Victoria to push beyond the 40-degree mark.

AquaZone service manager Ray Smith said hundreds of schoolchildren hit the site's Olympic-sized pool as pupils celebrated the end of the school year.

"It's been very, very busy," he said. "A lot of activities: we've had two schools coming in, end-of-year break-ups. We've had close to 500 kids coming in."

The last day to reach 40 degrees in Warrnambool was February 18 and the hottest day of the year so far was January 4, with a peak temperature of 43 degrees. Tomorrow and Sunday are set to be far more mild, with top temperatures in the high teens and low 20s.

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