No chill for Qld as weekend scorcher approaches

WHILE the southern states brace for a chilly polar blast, Queensland will be sweating through the weekend amid worries about bushfire risk. 

Current Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for the weekend include highs in the 30s, dust storms and an increased risk of fire, though temperatures are expected to be milder by Monday.

"A polar blast will follow with snow falling to low levels across Tasmania and Victoria," Sky News Meteorologist Tom Saunders told our sister paper

"Often the worst bushfires along the east coast of Australia occur when snow is falling over Tasmania and Victoria and this weekend is the classic weather pattern for such a set-up."

Rockhampton and Gympie are both expected to spike into the thirties over the weekend, but some regional towns will be slightly balmier at 26 degrees.

Mackay should top out at 27 on Saturday before reaching 29 on Sunday and dropping back down to 25 for the start of the work week. No rain is expected but humidity could get up to nearly 70%.

Rockhampton is set for a dry and toasty one with Saturday's top of 31 heating up to 33 by the end of the weekend but this is also expected to settle back to the mid-twenties on Monday. Some cloud cover is expected on Saturday so get set for a warm evening.

Gladstone won't be much more merciful for family fun with an expected maximum of 30 with temperatures moving back to the mid-twenties and, again, no rain expected.

Bundaberg joins the 30 club with highs of 28 for Saturday, 30 for Sunday, and returning to a high of 26 on Monday, with little wind, no rain, and about 56% humidity. 

Maryborough will top out at 31 on Sunday but will be back down to 26 by Monday, with clouds also expected for the return to work. 

A hot start to the weekend for Gympie with a maximum of 30 on Saturday should have residents glad to see some clouds and a top of 25 on Monday. Rain shouldn't be a problem and winds look like they'll stay around 16km/h.

Ipswich might see some clouds on Saturday but the weather will be warm with a top of 31 and cooling to 25 for Monday's commute. 

Toowoomba looks to benefit most from the polar blast with a max of 28 on Saturday collapsing to expected tops of 21 for both Sunday and Monday. Again, expect clouds on Saturday but the chance of rain is slim.

Warwick will be much the same as the mercury tops out at 29 on Saturday dropping to 22 by Monday but clouds not expected until mid-week at the earliest. 

Saunders blamed a cold front coming in from the south-west for the south-east states' inclement weather.

"A vigorous cold front will cause strong to gale-force winds across southeast Australia on Saturday leading to inland dust storms and potentially major bushfires.

"The windy conditions will combine with unseasonably high temperatures to lift fire dangers to severe levels through parts of eastern NSW. Sydney is forecast to hit 31C - 11C above average for this time of year," he said.