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Queensland to get an early taste of spring after heat records broken in WA, NT

David Chen, Friday July 30, 2021 - 03:08 EST
ABC image
Temperatures are expected to reach into the mid-30s over the weekend in western Queensland. - ABC

Queensland will get an early taste of spring this weekend with temperatures in some parts of the sunshine state expected to soar more than 12 degrees above average.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the thaw from winter temperatures was due to a mass of hot air moving into the region from northern Australia.

"Weak winds [over] the last week or so has let that air sit there and heat up, like some air in an oven," forecaster Sam Campbell said.

Mr Campbell said temperatures in parts of western and north-western Queensland would get above 30 degrees on the weekend, with the south-east expected to get into the mid to high 20s.

"We could be seeing 36 degrees at Boulia, 36 degrees around Julia Creek as well on the Saturday, so really quite exceptionally hot."

He said some records could be broken this week.

"It's always a risky business forecasting records [but] this is an exceptionally hot mass," he said.

Darling Downs nursery owner Penny McKinlay said the heat would be welcome for the region's gardeners who had endured recent frosts.

"We've had the most shocking frosts in well over the decade over here on the Downs ? which has done a lot of damage," said Ms McKinlay.

"Now we're going to get 30-degree heat ? everything will gird up and say whack-a-dack-ado it's spring."

Ms McKinlay said plants would benefit from the warm temperatures as long as it wasn't followed by more frosty mornings.

One extreme to the other

Only a week ago, parts of Queensland woke to their chilliest morning in almost two decades.

Mr Campbell said temperatures were likely to return to normal from early next week.

"It's not really until Monday and Tuesday next week that we start to feel some cool air coming out from the south," he said.

BOM senior climatologist Simon Grainger said the hot air had already broken records in Western Australian and the Northern Territory.

The second and the fourth warmest temperatures ever recorded in Australia during July were reported this month in WA and NT.

Mr Grainger said Wyndham and Kalumburu in WA had reached 38.1 degrees recently, while Victoria Downs in the NT had reached 37.7 degrees on July 23.

"This is a pretty, pretty unusual and pretty extreme event," Mr Grainger said.

He said the hot air mass had built up due to the absence of cool south-easterly trade winds.

"In the last couple of weeks? that air hasn't been pushing through," he said.

"Instead, we're seeing much warmer air pushing into Central Australia from the north and that's led to the length of this build-up of heat."

August outlook

Mr Grainger said the outlook for the coming months also pointed to warmer days due to a negative Indian Ocean Dipole pattern.

"One of the effects of that seems to be is to bring increased chance of warm air over northern and eastern Australia during winter and into spring," he said.

"The outlook shows a very high chance of the daytime temperatures exceeding the average.

"For August, most likely a continuation of daytime temperatures about one to two degrees above average."


© ABC 2021

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