Heatwave to continue for days as temps top 40 in some areas

IF you want to experience the pure heat of the start of Queensland's scorching weather, you can't go past Birdsville today. 

Just before 1.30pm, it recorded 46.5 degrees.

If you wanted to escape the heat, Lady Elliot Island wouldn't be a bad choice.

The island just north-east of Bundaberg was one of the coolest places in the state, along with the Gold Coast Seaway, with temperatures under 30 degrees.

And as temperatures soar across the state it seems there is little or no relief in site as the Bureau of Meteorology has issued an updated statement saying the heatwave will continue "well into next."

The worst of it is expected to hit inland areas in central and southern Queensland as well as the New South Wales borderlands. 

"A static weather pattern is driving the prolonged heatwave, with peak temperatures concentrated in southern and central inland parts of Queensland. We won't see any real relief from the heat until mid-to-late next week," Senior meteorologist Michelle Berry said

"Hot conditions will drive very high fire dangers for many areas of the state," she said, "We're urging the public to follow the advice of local emergency services."

"Closer to the coast, sea breezes are moderating temperatures, with Brisbane likely to remain in the low 30s."

Here are some of the temperatures from across the regions. Most were taken around 1pm Friday.

Weipa 37

Cairns 32.6

Townsville 34.6

Hamilton Island 30.6

Mackay 33.4

Gladstone 33.1

Emerald 40.4

Longreach 32.4

Blackall 41.8

Mt Isa 40.6

Birdsville 46.5

Roma 41.6

St George 41.0

Dalby 38

Bundaberg 30.6

Gympie 35.2

Kingaroy 37

Oakey 36.6

Toowoomba 35.3

Wellcamp Airport Toowoomba 37.9

Lady Elliot Island 29.5

Maryborough 32.5

Brisbane 30

Gatton 36

Gold Coast Seaway 27

Maroochydore 28.8

Nambour 32.8

A map showing the highest average temperatures across Australia -- and that was before this week's heatwave.
A map showing the highest average temperatures across Australia -- and that was before this week's heatwave. Bureau of Meteorology

Six call for help as scorching conditions loom

AT LEAST six people have needed medical attention, as a scorching heatwave begins to bear down on Queensland and New South Wales.

The half-dozen in Queensland including a female in her 80s from Toowoomba, a boy in Rockhampton, young girl in Maroochydore and a female in her 50s in Rockhampton.

Ambulances were sent for each call-out, although it is unclear how many were taken to hospital for further treatment.

Extra ambulances have been put on standby across both states.

It comes as construction workers, bakers, miners and kitchenhands are being warned to take care of themselves as Queensland and northern New South Wales brace for another day of scorching conditions.

 

When and where it will spread, in photos (Best viewed in full screen)

 

RSCPA is also warning pet owners to take care of their beloved furry friends - ensure they have a cool place, have multiple water bowls and maybe even frozen treats.

Read the RSPCA's top tips here

In Queensland's south, the Bureau of Meteorology has released a fire weather warning for the Darling Downs and Granite Belt regions.

The Bureau of expecting temperatures 10 degrees above the average, which it predicts to last until at least Monday.

 

An image of Australia's maximum temperatures on Saturday, as the heatwave strikes much of southern Queensland and northern NSW.
An image of Australia's maximum temperatures on Saturday, as the heatwave strikes much of southern Queensland and northern NSW. Bureau of Meteorology

Across the north of NSW and southern Queensland, temperatures will be heading north of the mid-30s.

Moving away from the coastline will push temperatures into the 40s.

Roma is expected to hit 42 degrees today, Surat will hit 41 while Biloela and Moranbah in Central Queensland will hit 40.

In NSW's north, Grafton is expected to hit 37 today but could reach a maximum of 39 at the start of next week.
 

QUT environmental occupational expert Associate Profesor Ian Stewart said there was a "real danger" for some workers, and it was not only those who worked in the sun.

He told ABC News the highest-risk jobs were:

·         Outside workers - construction

·         Foundry workers

·         Kitchen hands and chefs

·         Underground miners

·         Bakers

·         Glass factory workers

·         Smelter workers

·         Firefighters

Earlier, Queensland Health's Peter Aitken said hospitals and health services were already spreading warning messages through regional communities.

He said it was prepared for a rush of patients struck with heat-related health issues.

"With any event where we know we are likely to experience elevated levels of demand such as heatwave, cyclone, flood or pandemic, we work with our local hospital and health services to ensure they are prepared," he said.

"We know this event will likely impact across the weekend and we need to make sure we have the clinical and support staff available to provide the appropriate level of care and response."


HOW HOT WILL IT BE WHERE YOU ARE?

Maximum temperatures predicted during five-day heatwave
 

QUEENSLAND

  • Biloela: 41
     
  • Blackwater: 42
  • Brisbane: 36
  • Bundaberg 34
  • Caloundra 35
  • Caboolture 37
  • Dysart: 42
  • Emerald: 42
  • Gatton 41
  • Gladstone 32
  • Gympie 39
  • Hamilton Is: 31
  • Hervey Bay 32
  • Ipswich 39
  • Kingaroy 39
  • Logan: 36
  • Longreach: 43
  • Mackay 34
  • Maleny 36
  • Maroochydore 34
  • Nambour: 37
  • Maryborough 36
     
  • Moranbah: 41
  • Proserpine: 37
  • Rockhampton 38
  • Roma 43
  • Surat: 42
  • Toowoomba 37
  • Warwick 38
     

NSW

  • Coffs Harbour 33
     
  • Grafton 39
     
  • Lismore 36
     
  • Moree 42
     
  • Tamworth 38
     
  • Tweed 26

 

 

EARLIER: Fears of tragedy as Qld, NSW to hit 42°C

TODAY marks the start of a dangerous heatwave that will scorch Queensland and northern New South Wales until at least Tuesday next week.

Queensland Health is specifically warning regional areas as it responds to the potentially deadly conditions using the same protocols it relies on during a flood, cyclone or disease outbreak.

NSW Health also has a guide on dealing with the heatwave.

Parts of southern Queensland and northern NSW that will hit 42 as the wave breaks.

Peter Aitken is the senior director of Queensland's Health's disaster management unit.

He said hospitals across Queensland will already be spreading the message of danger "before the impact of the heat hits".

Mr Aitken said hospitals and health services are readying for a rush of patients who are struck with heat-related health issues.

"With any event where we know we are likely to experience elevated levels of demand such as heatwave, cyclone, flood or pandemic, we work with our local hospital and health services to ensure they are prepared," he said.

"We know this event will likely impact across the weekend and we need to make sure we have the clinical and support staff available to provide the appropriate level of care and response."
 


It comes as Queensland paramedics warned those in the path of the heatwave that such conditions can be fatal.

"QAS director of patient safety Tony Hucker said if the brain becomes too hot "it can be a fatal income".

"Heat stroke can actually kill you," he said.

"Once your brain gets to the temperature of about 40 degrees, it's dangerous.

 

 

 

 

Who is at risk?

All residents are at risk during periods of hot or prolonged high temperatures, however some people are at a higher risk of harm.

This includes:

  • the elderly-especially those who live alone
     
  • babies and very young children
     
  • pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers
     
  • people who suffer from a pre-existing medical condition-such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness
     
  • people who take certain medications - such as allergy medicines (antihistamines), blood pressure and heart medications (beta-blockers), fluid tablets (diuretics) and anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medications. If you take medication, consult with your doctor for more information
     
  • people with an alcohol or drug problem
     
  • people with mobility problems or disability, who may not be able to identify or communicate their discomfort or thirst
     
  • people who are physically active-such as manual workers and people who play sport.


Preparing for a heat wave

Check air-conditioning at your home has been serviced and is working effectively.

  • Ensure you have an enough food, water, medicines and toiletries to avoid going out in the heat.
     
  • Store foods and medicines at a safe temperature. Read our food safety information to find out more.
     
  • Consider your options if the heat wave causes a loss of electricity or disrupts public transport.
     
  • Ensure you have a torch, fully charged mobile phone or a telephone that will work without electricity, a battery operated radio and sufficient batteries.
     
  • Find ways to make your home cooler-such as installing awnings, shade cloths or external blinds on the sides of the house facing the sun.
     
  • Dark metal shutters and dark curtains may absorb heat and make the room warmer and should be avoided. The use of pale curtains or reflective materials is better.
     

Coping during prolonged heat

  • Keep hydrated by drinking water regularly during the day. This generally means drinking two to three litres of water a day, depending on heat, humidity and your physical activity.
     
  • If your doctor normally restricts your fluid intake, check how much to drink during hot weather. Drinking too much water can also be dangerous, so monitor the colour of your urine. It is recommended that your water consumption should ensure that your urine is light yellow.
     
  • Avoid drinking drinks with high levels of sugar, caffeine and alcohol and very cold drinks.
     
  • Eat smaller cool meals, such as salads. Do not take additional salt tablets unless prescribed by a doctor.
     
  • Keep yourself cool. Use wet towels or scarves, put your feet in cool water or take cool (not cold) showers. Stay indoors in cool or air-conditioned facilities-either at home or at local shopping centres, libraries and cinemas.
     
  • Close curtains and blinds, and open windows (if there is a cool breeze blowing) to reduce heat entering your home.
     
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you can't avoid outdoor activities don't go out in the hottest part of the day, stay in the shade, drink plenty of water and wear a hat and light coloured, loose fitting clothing. Ensure infants and children do too.
     
  • Do not leave children, adults or animals in parked vehicles, even for a short period of time.
     
  • Keep in touch with sick or frail friends, neighbours and relatives to ensure that they are coping with the heat wave conditions.
     
  • Watch or listen to news reports for information about the heat event or heat wave.


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