Queensland heatwave: Brisbane set to roast as weekend temperatures soarSaturday January 4, 2014 - 15:58 EDT
The scorching heatwave gripping much of Queensland is being felt in Brisbane today, with residents set to roast in temperatures of up to 41 degrees Celsius.
At 9:25am, the mercury had already hit 35.1C, with the apparent temperature hovering at 37.4C, according to the Bureau of Meteorology website.
By 1:00pm, the temperature had risen to 38C, although the apparent temperature was 41C.
Queensland's interior has been sweltering through record-breaking heat in recent days, along with parts of Central Australia and north-western New South Wales.
The heatwave continued as a Bureau of Meteorology report revealed .
The mass of hot air causing the extreme weather again led to searing temperatures in central and western Queensland on Friday.
St George topped the temperature list with 47.2C, while Winton and Longreach also had scorchers at 46.4C and 46.3C respectively.
Charleville followed on 46.1C, while Blackall, Roma and Thargomindah all recorded temperatures just above 45C.
Brisbane's top for Friday was 34.3C, but the mercury is predicted to reach 41C today as northerly winds push the heatwave south.
The Gold Coast's beaches have been packed with people keen to beat the heat, and that is sure to be the case over the weekend.
Queenslanders have also been urged to put their health first during the current heatwave.
Last summer, paramedics responded to more than 350 cases of heat-related illness across the state.
Steven Clarke from Queensland Ambulance says drinking plenty of water is the key.
Mr Clarke says families should ensure loved ones are coping with the heat, with the elderly particularly vulnerable.
"For the elderly and people with chronic illnesses, especially with kidney problems, diabetic problems, obese people, they need to take extra care," he said.
"Probably a critical point to make is family need to check their loved ones - grandad and grandma living on their own - they need to ring them up, they need to go around and visit them and make sure they are doing the right thing.
"Especially with the elderly. They'll lock their windows to make themselves feel safe; they live on their own. Family need to spend the time and go visit them."
Meanwhile, , after two days of scorching heat and a catastrophic fire danger rating.
It reached 49.3C at Moomba in the state's far-north-east on Thursday, but conditions are set to ease to 32C today.
The state's fire danger rating has been reduced by two levels to severe.
In New South Wales, Walgett recorded 49.1C on Friday, which is the highest temperature recorded in NSW since 1939, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Former tropical cyclone Christine has further weakened as it passes into northern New South Wales, and the system can now barely be seen on satellite images.
2013 was hottest year on record¬†
The shows that in 2013, average temperatures were 1.20C above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17C,
All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia all breaking annual average temperature records.
Every month of 2013 had national average temperatures at least 0.5C above normal, according to the statement.
The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 - a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910.
A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39C ‚?? seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.
The highest temperature recorded during 2013 was 49.6C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12, which was the highest temperature in Australia since 1998.
Australia has experienced just one cooler-than-average year in the last decade - 2011.
Australian temperatures have warmed approximately 1C since 1950, consistent with global climate trends
© ABC 2014
More breaking news
Heavy storms are lashing central Queensland, whilst rain and strong winds affect the coast.
Parts of Central NT have had their hottest morning in 7 years.
Sydney is getting set for a scorching January, with a warm-up early next week.