A heatwave has officially been declared in parts of inland Queensland, where scorching weather is smashing records and prompting health warnings.
The mercury has soared above 40 degrees Celsius in a number of areas over recent days, and the sweltering weather is set to continue.
New Year’s Eve will remain very hots in the state’s west, with Longreach expecting a top of 45, Mt Isa 42 with the chance of a storm and 40 in Roma.
In the central west, Urandangie recorded its hottest day on record at 47.2 degrees on Monday, while it reached 46 in Isisford.
Closer to the coast, it hit 41.5 degrees in Rockhampton.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s regional director for the state, Rob Webb, says the extreme heat is being caused by “a slow moving air mass which remains stagnant over Queensland”.
“Without any major weather systems likely to move it out of the state in coming days, we expect the heat will continue until the weekend,” he said in a statement.
Annual records broken on Sunday
- Warwick – 40.4C (previous record 40.2C in 2012)
- Toowoomba – 38.3C (previous record 38.2C in 2009)
- Miles – 43.8C (previous record 42.6C in 2012)
- Roma – 44.7C (previous record 42.4C in 2012)
- St George – 45.5C (previous record 43.2C in 2009)
“Given that forecast, the length and strength of this heatwave is significant, with Longreach likely to have maximum temperatures in the mid-40s until the weekend.
“If that happens, it will be the first time temperatures have been so high for so long in 50 years of records.”
The southern towns of Miles and Roma both broke annual records on Sunday, sweltering through temperatures of 48.3C and 44.7C respectively.
Warwick also saw a new annual record of 40.4C, as did Toowoomba Airport (38.3C) and St George Airport (45.5C).
Towns like Windorah (47.3C), Oakey (40.3C), Injune (43.2C), Charleville (46.0C) and Quilpie (46.2C) had their hottest December days on record, while Longreach recorded its warmest night at 30.7C, breaking a 45-year record.
37 degrees ‘a lot cooler’
At Noonbah Station outside Longreach in central-western Queensland on Monday, air-conditioning could only lower the inside temperature to 37C.
But owner Angus Emmott says walking indoors was a huge relief after toiling in the workshop until lunchtime.
“It feels a lot cooler once you get inside, but you’ve got to make sure you don’t look at the thermometer and remind yourself what the temperature actually is,” he said.
“We try to get all the essential jobs done early in the morning and late in the afternoon to escape the worst of it.”
Amid the hot and dry conditions, the station and its supplies of feed and water have provided an oasis of sorts for surrounding birds.
The Emmotts are doing their best to keep the birds cool by putting a sprinkler on in the shade for short bursts.
“Dozens of birds have been flying in to have a drink all afternoon,” Mr Emmott said.
“I’ve seen it worse in the past when birds and animals have died, but it hasn’t been that bad yet.”
Temperatures spark warnings over heat-related illness
Alan Muxworthy from the Queensland Ambulance Service says young children and elderly members of the community are most likely to suffer from heat stress during periods of extreme heat.
He says common sense action like keeping up fluids, finding a cool place to take refuge and having cold showers will lessen the chances of becoming affected by heat-related illness.
“It is pretty much common sense. People need to plan for their activities when they know it is going to be a hot period,” he said.
“Heat-related illness is not an immediate thing – it can sneak up on you.
“Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, drink regularly throughout the day.”
Signs of heat exhaustion include flushed or pale skin, cramps, nausea, headache, dizziness, disorientation, drowsiness, fainting or collapse.
For advice on preparing for a heatwave visit the ABC Emergency site.
There are extreme and severe fire weather warnings for much of the state’s interior.
Forecaster Amber Young says lightning and dry conditions could create fire problems in some areas.
“Through the Central West and parts of the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, there is certainly a risk of seeing some storm activity,” she said.
Boulia grazier Ann Britton says drought-stricken farmers are hoping the heat brings rain.
“When the rain comes you sort of forget about the hot weather – a bit like childbirth,” she said.
Topics: weather, qld, miles-4415, roma-4455, st-george-4487, longreach-4730, mount-isa-4825, gladstone-4680, bundaberg-4670, cairns-4870, mackay-4740, toowoomba-4350
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