Severe to extreme heatwave conditions are forecast across large parts of inland Queensland over the next week, with temperatures expected to be 5-8 degrees above the long-term average for this time of year.
Bureau of Meteorology Regional Weather Services Manager, Dr Richard Wardle, said temperatures ranging between the mid-30s and low 40s are likely.
“Above average temperatures are being caused by a slow-moving surface trough resulting in hot air for much of the state,” said Dr Wardle.
“Heatwave conditions are forecast to begin in the south on Thursday and Friday, before shifting northwards over the weekend and reaching the northwest of the state by Tuesday (26 January).
“Inland areas are expected to experience above average daytime temperatures as a result of this hot air with coastal areas generally cooler as a result of afternoon sea breezes. Daytime temperatures are still expected to be above average,” he said.
The Bureau now provides a Heatwave Service in addition to the temperature forecast, which provides a measure of the intensity of a heatwave, compared to the long-term climate average.
Mr John Nairn said the Heatwave Service allows the Bureau to inform the community of the severity of a heatwave, and is able to map the level of intensity of each heatwave event.
“The current event shows large areas of Australia will reach severe heatwave conditions, a more advanced indicator than temperature alone in anticipating the impact of heat stress,” said Mr Nairn.
Severe and extreme heatwaves pose significant risks to human health and safety, particularly the elderly, who are more vulnerable to the effects of heat stress.
When temperatures are unusually hot over a period of time, with continuously high night-time and day-time temperatures, heat stress becomes a critical factor in human survival and infrastructure resilience.
Source: Bureau of Meteorology. Further information on the Bureau’s Heatwave Service for Australia can also be found on our website.