Searing heat and thunderstorms are set to hit Victoria later this week, with warnings in place that temperatures over 40 degrees could put Victoria back on high alert.

Most of East Gippsland is forecast to hit the high 30s on Friday, with Melbourne set to hit 37 degrees on Thursday and a 41 on Friday.

The forecast is also predicting unstable storms and a cool change on Saturday that will bring thunder, lightning and stronger south-westerly winds, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The bureau’s senior forecaster Richard Carlyon said residents in East Gippsland and the state’s north-east should be “on alert” for fire risk due to the high temperatures at the end of the week.

“It will come down to wind. On Thursday there’s not much wind expected for East Gippsland, there will be sea breezes on the coast. But the wind will kick up a little on Friday.”