'Extreme' heat wave heading to South Burnett

9th February 2018 12:45 PM
PEAK SUMMER: A heatwave is expected to hit the region with temperatures of up to 38 degrees. PEAK SUMMER: A heatwave is expected to hit the region with temperatures of up to 38 degrees. Michael Nolan

THE weekend heatwave won't be getting better any time soon, with conditions set to worsen until Thursday.

The Bureau of Meteorology's heatwave assessment is predicting severe heatwaves across most of southern Queensland but the South Burnett region will see an upgrade to "extreme”.

Spiking from maximum temperatures of 35-38 degrees over the weekend, temperatures could get as high as 39 degrees over the next week.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jess Gardner said the heatwave could cause major problems for vulnerable people.

"It's very rare and dangerous for a heatwave to be upgraded from 'severe' to 'extreme',” she said.

"A severe heatwave is dangerous to vulnerable people such as the elderly, while an extreme heatwave is dangerous to anyone, particularly those who are working outside.”

A warm stagnant air mass in the upper ridge over Queensland is building up the warm temperatures, causing the heatwave.

As the air mass is slow-moving, those temperatures are expected to go up slowly and take a while to cool back down.

Low wind forecasts are also a contributing factor, meaning there won't be much light relief from breezes to cool things down.

While there are currently no forecasts for beyond Thursday, the extreme conditions are predicted to stay the same until then, with the only possibility for light relief coming after.

While minor showers are predicted during the heatwave period, Ms Gardner said if anything it would only make conditions more humid.

"We say there'll be a 30-40 per cent chance of showers, which means they'll be likely in the area, but whether or not they go over the area is another matter,” she said.

Extreme heatwaves are classified as being damaging to infrastructure and harmful to people's general health.

Queensland Ambulance Service director of operations David Hartley said risk of heat-related illnesses would be high during peak temperatures in the middle of the day.

"We'll be encouraging as many people as possible to stay indoors and out of the heat to protect themselves from heat illness,” Mr Hartley said.

"We do experience a higher rate of calls during heatwaves, including dizziness, vomiting, nausea and extreme cases of heatstroke.

"It's absolutely avoidable, the sun's at its hottest between 10am and 3pm so that's when we encourage people to be a little bit smarter about exposing themselves to the heat.”

Mr Hartley said people with airconditioning looking to save on power costs should be strategic.

"If you've got fans, use them,” he said.