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Victorians head to beach on hot Xmas Day

AAP logoAAP 24/12/2016 Helen Velissaris

Welcoming the hottest Christmas Day in 18 years, Melburnians have flocked to the beach to celebrate the festive day in true Australian style.

Thousands laid their towels on the sand as the temperature reached 36.3C at 4:30pm.

The Bureau of Meteorology says it's taken a while for the heat to reach Melbourne on Christmas Day.

"Eighteen years ago in 1998, we recorded 36.3C again, so it's the warmest since then," duty forecaster Beren Bradshaw told AAP.

Up in the northwest of the state, it reached 40.1C near Horsham, while Mildura saw a high of 40.3C and Walpeup, near Ouyen, hit 41.6C.

Cooling off at the beach was a smart idea for many but it did bring some dangers.

A toddler was airlifted to hospital after she was pulled from the waters at a Rye beach on Sunday.

The young girl had to be resuscitated by paramedics after swallowing quite a bit of water.

Earlier in the day but on the opposite side of the bay, sharks were sighted at three Victorian beaches.

Relief from the hot weather won't come until after lunch on Monday, with the evening set to be quite warm.

'We're in for an uncomfortable night, we're forecasting a minimum of 24C for tonight," Ms Bradshaw said.

With a top of 31C for Boxing Day, the temperature is set to drop in the afternoon in the city with the chance of showers.

Those in the northern half of the state won't get much relief, with a heatwave keeping humid conditions in the high 30s auntil late in the week.

The Australian Medical Association urged people to look after themselves as they're out and about in the heat.

"Heatwaves are responsible for more deaths in Australia than any other type of natural disaster, and it's important to prepare for hot weather," AMA vice president Tony Bartone said in a statement.

"Stay indoors when possible, and avoid going outside at the hottest times of day."

Temperatures are set to hover in the low 20s from Friday.

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