Qld Heatwave: Fire warning as mercury pushes 40C
THE Sunshine State is sweltering as a 'heatwave' sweeps through.
Much of the state has hit the mid-30s, with some towns cracking the 40C mark by noon, including Birdsville (42.1C) and Windorah (41C) in the Channel Country, Longreach (40.1C) and Winton (40.2) in the central west and much of the state's northwest. Most of these regions had hit 30C by 9am.
In the southeast corner, the mercury rose more slowly, hitting the mid-20s in Brisbane and on the Gold and Sunshine coasts by 8.30am. Brisbane was 31.3C by noon, Gatton was 33.7C, Gold Coast Seaway recorded 31.9C at 12.15pm and Sunshine Coast Airport was 33.2C at 12.20pm.
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The weather bureau has issued a fire weather warning for parts of western Queensland as temperatures continue to climb.
The Rural Fire Service Queensland has advised residents around the Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts to monitor current weather conditions and be prepared for the possibility of bushfires.
Centres in the southeast corner had been expected to reach the mid-30s, with Brisbane headed for a top of 36 degrees before a trough moves through late in the day and cools things down for Saturday.
The Bureau of Meteorology says expected temperatures were eight to 10 degrees above the October average.
Queensland's interior has already seen very high temperatures this week, with Birdsville setting a new record on Thursday for its hottest October day when the mercury reached 44.7 degrees.
Conditions in inland communities are similar today.
The extreme temperatures have health authorities on high alert and people are being urged to do what they can to beat the heat.
Queensland Ambulance Service's Tony Hucker urged people, especially vulnerable residents, to stay cool and hydrated.
"Particularly when it comes up quickly there's a real risk," he said.
"The problem with heat-related illness is it can sneak up on you and you just don't know it's coming until you're actually quite ill.
"If you ignore it, heat-related illness can be fatal."
Mr Hucker said the elderly, the young and the sick were particularly at risk of heat-related problems.
The Director of Clinical Quality and Patient Safety said heat posed a "real risk" when it came out of nowhere.
"(Friday) might be a scorcher and unless we think about it and make a plan we can get caught out," he said.
"When it gets really hot you can get really sick and if you're not careful and if you ignore it, heat related illness can actually be fatal."
Staying inside, wearing loose clothing and ensuring you get plenty of fluids are among the tips Mr Hucker says can help ease the heat stress.
Meteorologist Gabriel Branescu, from the Bureau of Meteorology, said the intense heat will be short-lived, with a temperature drop tomorrow and another on Sunday.
"Overnight it's going to be a little bit cooler, it will still be around 36 degrees at 3pm but once that southerly change moves through the temperatures will drop to 18 degrees as a minimum overnight," he said.
Birdsville is expected to be hottest place to be today with the mercury tipped to hit 44 degrees.
Parents are being encouraged to fill up an extra water bottle and plan indoor activities to avoid the heat.
"On hot days such as these, it can be a good idea to fill a water bottle for young children and ensure it has been drunk by the end of the day," a Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said.
"Try to avoid eating hot foods on hot days - stick to smaller serves of cold meals, like salads, more often," he said.
Queenslanders are also being told to take advantage of air-conditioning in shopping centres, libraries and cinemas if they don't have cooling systems at home.
Longreach: 40.1C as of 12.07pm
Winton: 40.7C as of 12.30pm
Cloncurry: 40.6C as of 11.44am
Mount Isa: 40.7C as of 12.22pm
Julia Creek: 39.9 as of 12.24pm
The Monument: 41.4 as of 12.17pm
Birdsville: 42.7C as of 12.30pm
Windorah: 41.3C as of 12.3pam
Brisbane: 31.9 as of 12.27pm
Coolangatta: 31C as of 12.30pm
Sunshine Coast Airport: 33.4C as of 12.23pm
Source: Bureau of Meteorology