“Thanks to a tropical plunge moving across Victoria, it’s going to feel for some parts more like a build-up day in Darwin rather than what we’re accustomed to in Melbourne,” Ms Eadie said.
“We’re also going to see a risk of dust storms with those strengthening northerly winds and with that rainfall we could see that muddy rain again as we saw previously.”
Just one week ago, red rain washed over cars in Melbourne, soiled swimming pools and turned the Yarra River a dark shade of brown.
Temperatures will only dip down to 23 degrees on Friday night, but will sit in the high 20s for most of the muggy night.
“So not ideal for sleeping on Friday night,” weather bureau forecaster Michael Efron said.
Further north, temperatures are expected to reach 45 degrees on Friday with a total fire ban in place for the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country, Northern District, South West and Central Districts.
“There are risks right across the state. That’s because we remain very, very dry. Our soil moisture is very dry, our forests are very dry,” Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said on Thursday afternoon.
Come Friday evening and Saturday, localised heavy rain and flash flooding is forecast for the south-west and central areas.
Forecasters expect between 10 and 25 millimetres will fall on Melbourne on Saturday, with rain and thunderstorms moving slowly over the state and weakening by the time they reach the fire grounds in the east.
Some relief from the heat will come on Sunday, though the cool change will weaken by the time it reaches the fire-affected areas in the east.
The worst of the fire danger is expected on Friday, and into early Saturday in the east of the state.
Ms Neville said dormant fires in the east could flare up again over the next few days and residents needed to prepare.
“If your plan is wait until a fire is at your doorstep, and then leave, that is not a good plan,” Ms Neville said.
More than 1200 firefighters are containing 10 fires that are still burning, mostly in East Gippsland under control.
Firefighters fear for new fires in the state’s west, especially if dry lightning sparks the dry forests.
“It is incredibly dry, we’re going to have very low humidity,” Ms Neville said.
Fire crews have taken advantage of benign conditions this week to prepare for the spike in fire risk, strengthening control lines and firefighting planes and choppers ready to be re-deployed.
Fires have torn through 1.53 million hectares around Victoria so far this season and Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned there was another six to eight weeks of the season still to come.
Air quality was hazardous in East Gippsland on Thursday, and smoke was thickening, particularly around Lakes Entrance.
Rachel is a breaking news reporter for The Age.