Nov 26, 2020

Queensland braces for heatwave conditions

Queensland braces for heatwave conditions

Southern Queensland is set to swelter from this weekend as severe to extreme heatwave conditions move across large parts of southern and eastern Australia in coming days.

‘Records could tumble as temperatures reach the mid 40s,’ the Bureau of Meteorology tweeted

BOM senior meteorologist Dean Narramore told ABC News that higher temperatures would strike the Channel Country, Maranoa and Warrego regions first. Western parts of Brisbane could then endure three or four days in a row at or above 40 degrees early next week, he said.

Friday’s forecast includes maximum temperatures of 39 degrees for Mount Isa and Cloncurry, 41 degrees for Julia Creek and Winton, and 45 degrees for Birdsville and Bedourie.

The heatwave warnings came as the Bureau of Meteorology released its Summer Climate Outlook.

Australia continues to experience an active La Niña event which means large parts of eastern Australia have an increased risk of flooding.

“While the last three weeks have been dry in many parts of the country – due in part to unfavourable tropical weather patterns – it does not signal a weakening of La Niña,” BOM head of operational climate services Dr Andrew Watkins said.

“Our climate outlook is the opposite of what we experienced last year in Australia. This summer, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are expected to see above average rainfall, meaning we face an increased risk of widespread floods.”

Dr Watkins said that while the risk of bushfires wasn’t as high as last summer, fires would occur.

“There’s a great chance of grass fires in some areas as recent rain and warm weather have led to vigorous vegetation growth. South eastern Australia is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world. Even short periods of hot and dry weather increase the risk of fire in summer.”

Dr Watkins said Northern Australia remained on track for an average to slightly above average cyclone season.

“On average, Australia sees nine to 11 tropical cyclones each year, with four crossing the coast. The first cyclone to develop in the Australian region occurs earlier during La Niña years,” he said.

“People in the north of the country should prepare for tropical cyclones now. And don’t forget tropical lows, which can bring heavy rainfall, flooding and cause significant property damage.”

Dr Watkins said the outlook was also a reminder for communities to be prepared for heatwaves over the coming months.

“Daytime temperatures in summer are likely to be near average, but there will be periods of high heat combined with milder periods,” he said.