Queensland will swelter through a springtime scorcher this week, with temperatures set to soar above 40C across the Sunshine State.
A heatwave forecast has been officially declared for central, southern, inland, and northern Queensland, with the mercury expected to reach an eye-watering top of 43C in Longreach on Thursday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The scorching weather will hang around from Monday to Thursday and plunge the state into an early summer as the region’s capital braces for highs of up to 35C by midweek.
Bureau senior meteorologist Harry Clark said the persistent hot weather would be the first of its kind this year.
“It’s very warm and hot throughout much of Queensland this week … if conditions continue a severe heatwave may be potentially announced tomorrow for (inland) areas,” he said.
“These temps are five to 10 degrees above average so not record breaking but only a couple of degrees off the November record of 45.5C.”
“It’s the first heatwave of the year and we can’t rule out more heatwaves as we go into the hotter months.”
Thunderstorms and isolated showers on Friday may bring some relief across the weekend, but Mr Clark said low rainfall predictions of 1-10mm on the southeast coast would be a small reprieve after four straight days of above 30-40C weather.
Nine bushfire warnings are in place across Queensland, with residents told to “prepare to leave” at Mount Garner near Cairns, as conditions escalate along Wyndham Creek Rd, according to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
The blaze at Thursday Island has officially been downgraded to a watch-and-act level, and locals are advised to avoid smoke, stay inside and close windows and doors.
According to the Queensland government’s Get Ready Queensland disaster portal, “heatwaves are the deadliest natural hazard in (the state), leading to the loss of more than 100 lives every year”.
Babies and young people, the elderly, pregnant people, and people with medical conditions are encouraged to take extra care over the next week of above-average heat.
Around the rest of the country temperatures will hover in the mid-to-high 20s to 30s, while Victoria and Tasmania chill through maximums of 20C as a cold front sweeps through the states.
Meanwhile, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are also predicted to swelter through high 30C temperatures alongside Queensland by Thursday.
Cloudy conditions and possible showers are forecast for the capital cities throughout the week, with rainfall levels expected to remain low.
Originally published as Heatwave declared as temperatures soar above 40 degrees