Days of 39degC heat for Perth

Days of 39degC heat for Perth

Perth is heading for a record heat wave, with temperatures tipped to hover above 39degC for five days straight.

The sweltering conditions began this weekend -- a city baking under a blistering sun.

Today, there was 36degC heat, and Perth is forecast to get even hotter over the next five days.

The city hasn't seen a line-up like this in decades. Five days above 39degC has happened only twice -- in 1933 and 1965.

And there will be little relief at night, temperatures staying above 21degC.

"We had the coldest February day since 1935, so the weather has just done a complete 180," says Neil Bennett from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Thousands have headed to the beach to cool off. The water's fine, but it's burning underfoot.

It's hotter still in the carpark. In less than five minutes police say a parked car will reach 65degC.             

It's expected power demand will be huge.

"These next few days have the very real potential to push over that peak load; that's just over 4000 megawatts," says Western Power chief executive Paul Italiano.

That's equivalent to 1 million homes running air conditioners on high.

Sprinklers are also on high demand, but there been a public plea for residents to turn them off.

"We expect Perth's water use to be around 1 billion litres. One billion litres is like the oval being filled up to its goal posts," says Claire Luger from the WA Water Corporation.

Doctors warn the heat wave could prove deadly, the elderly and babies most at risk.

Getting around won't be easy. The trains will be slower, as the heat expands the tracks.

Some workers won't be allowed at work; it's simply too hot. Their first day back could be Thursday.