A blistering heatwave is scorching western Queensland with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and will spread to the south-east later this week.
Outback towns in the state’s south-west endured temperatures of 9C above average over the weekend.
Longreach recorded its hottest March day since 1985 on Sunday, hitting 43C.
The mercury also rose to 43C at Isisford, Urandangi, Boulia and Birdsville and would remain that high over the coming days.
“Temperatures could even reach the 45C mark,” Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Brett Harrison said.
“We won’t see some cooler air moving through until much stronger trough system pushed through the area Wednesday and Thursday.”
A very stale and stagnant air mass is accumulating heat over south-west Queensland and extending into central Australia.
It will continue for most of the week and move toward the south-east over Wednesday and Thursday.
Temperatures between 7C and 10C above the March average could be felt in the south-east corner, but sea breezes will spare the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.
On Thursday, Brisbane is forecast to reach 33C and Ipswich 36C, but it would be warmer still in the Maranoa, Darling Downs and Warrego districts.
“It will start to decrease slightly heading into Friday and the weekend,” Mr Harrison said.
No reprieve from drought
Forecaster Amber Young said there were another five days ahead this week of intense heat for Longreach and surrounding areas.
“Longreach itself, the past eight days has recorded a maximum temperature of 40 degrees or above,” she said.
“And we are forecasting another five days, so certainly no reprieve in sight just yet.”
Birdsville has hit 40 degrees or higher every day since February 21.
Another three days at 40 degree or above are forecast, including today.
Longreach mayor Joe Owens said the current drought conditions were depressing.
“The amount of edible grass on the paddocks out here is probably equal to what most people have in their lounge rooms in the city – absolutely nothing,” he said.
Grazier Paul McClymont from Dalkeith, west of Longreach, said the heat was challenging, but the lack of rain that was the big worry.
The hot weather was stressing what little grass was left and drying up limited water supplies.
Mr McClymont said livestock would suffer and graziers had to take extra care when working sheep and cattle.
There is still one month of the official wet season left and Mr McClymont said any rain now will be too late to provide benefit for many.
“Everyone can sort of see what is ahead of them now and it is decision time,” he said.
“It will be another very lean year for a lot of people.”
on 2/03/2015 9:37pm
Any idea what the humidity was at the time of the 43c in Longreach & Isisford?
Would have been unbearably hot!
PS. Love the site!
on 3/03/2015 1:02am
Hi there – sorry we don’t have that info easily available, your best bet is to contact Weatherzone in Aussie, they would likely have the answer! That temp would’ve been unbearable up there!
Thanks for your kind feedback 🙂
– WW Team