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Queensland swelters in marathon heatwave

Wednesday January 9, 2013 - 14:51 EDT
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Not since the early 1970s have temperatures in parts of Queensland soared above 40 for two consecutive weeks. - ABC

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says Queensland is in the middle of one of its longest heatwaves in 30 years.

Not since the early 1970s have temperatures in parts of Queensland soared above 40 for two consecutive weeks.

The weather conditions are making it difficult for fire crews battling outbreaks on Bribie Island and Tin Can Bay in the state's south east, and at Thargomindah in the south west.

Senior BOM forecaster Brett Harrison says the length of the heatwave is unusual.

"Birdsville was very close to breaking the record for the most consecutive days above 45 [but] yesterday only reached 44.6 so just missed out on that," he said.

The temperature at Bedourie in the south west could top 46 degrees today and the BOM is not expecting a cool change until next week.

The prolonged heat in western Queensland is causing issues for some petrol stations.

Vicky Norton, who works at a roadhouse in Boulia, says the heat can cause the pumps to shut down.

"So far they're not too bad - they take a little while to kick," she said.

"I don't think any have actually shut down at all as yet but if they get any hotter they certainly will.

"You've usually got to get out there with a hose and spray them down and keep them cool."

Ms Norton says residents do not get much relief after the sun goes down, with overnight temperatures remaining in the mid thirties.

"It's shocking - nobody goes outside, everybody's just inside because it's too hot," she said.

"You don't even get a reprieve in the morning to get out there and do stuff while it's cool because it doesn't even cool down during the night.

"It cools down to probably 38 in the early hours in the morning and as soon as that sun comes up it's just straight back up into the forties."

Forecast temperatures today also include 44 at Winton, 43 at Longreach, 42 at Mt Isa and 41 at Charleville, Rome and Goondiwindi.

Charleville swimming pool manager Shelley Lawton says there has been a noticeable increase in patronage as people try to escape the heat.

"Being so hot overnight we're starting to see a few more come in the morning - and then we have a 9:30am shift to midday now, which is really popular because obviously it's a lot cooler," she said.

The temperature in Brisbane is forecast to reach 36 degrees today and BOM senior forecaster Rick Threlfall says a cooler change is not likely anytime soon.

"The hot air has sat over the top of western Queensland for at least a week and will make its way eastwards during today," he said.

Mr Threlfall says the heat will continue into early next week.


© ABC 2013

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