Severe-to-extreme heatwave conditions are predicted to hit central and southern Queensland and northern New South Wales for three days from Friday, with temperatures forecast to crack 40 degrees Celsius in some parts.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Michael Knepp said dry air coming from western Queensland would send temperatures soaring over the weekend.
“We are looking at a possible heatwave with temperatures especially in western [Brisbane] suburbs remaining in the high 30s possibly getting to 40-41 for an extended period of time for five or six days,” he said.
Many towns south of the Queensland border and west of the Great Dividing Range will endure several days of temperatures above 40.
The BOM predicts a top temperature of 44 in Moree, Walgett, Brewarrina and Bourke on Saturday, and those towns are set to remains in the low 40s on Sunday and Monday.
North-east South Australia and south-east Northern Territory may also experience similar heatwave conditions.
The BOM also predicted localised pockets of low intensity heatwave conditions over northern parts of Queensland and the NT.
Mr Knepp said the high temperatures could be deadly and it was important for people to stay cool and look out for elderly neighbours.
“Heat is one of the biggest weather phenomenon killers in the world so do take care, especially if you’re doing outdoor activities and make sure you don’t keep any kids or pets in cars for any period of time,” he said.
‘Check on elderly neighbours, drink lots of water’
Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Alan Muxworthy said it would be important for people to check on elderly neighbours and family members.
“We generally see elderly members of the community who perhaps haven’t hydrated enough or haven’t put the air-conditioning on or they close the house up and it just becomes like an oven,” he said.
“It is going to be exceptionally warm and we are going to see some very high UV counts throughout the week, so hydrate is one of the most important things.
“People should be drinking a soft drink can amount of water every hour and if you’re out in the sun wear sunscreen, wear a long-sleeve shirt if possible, wear a hat. Stay out of the sun if you can.
“If you’re inside, make sure you’ve got your air conditioning running. If you don’t have air conditioning, get your fans on, get the windows open get some air flowing through.”
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service is also stepping up preparations for the looming heatwave.
Superintendent James Haig said they would be ready to deal with any bushfires.
“A lot of Queensland is very dry and as a result of that fires are already posing problems so we will make sure we’ve got people forward deployed but also things like waterbombers and so on are located in the positions where they’re going to be most effective,” he said.
Energex prepared for increase in demand
Energex’s Danny Donald said sufficient preparations have already been made to cope with the expected additional load to be brought on by the heatwave.
“There’s no real surprises that we will get some sort of heatwave over the summer period, so we’ll also spend about $300 million preparing the network for each summer heat slash storm season,” he said.
Mr Donald said demand was always highest late in the afternoon.
“In the last 15 years we’re gone from about 25 per cent of homes having air conditioning to nearly 80 per cent,” he said.
“That obviously has an impact on the network and that is what we’ve really had to bank on in upgrading the network, to allow for people to use their air conditioners during those peak periods, particularly after the sun goes down.”
By Kathy McLeish. Source: ABC News