Heatwave set for weekend

HEATLHCARE workers are asking people to stay cool as south-west and central Queensland prepares for another heatwave.

Temperatures are set to soar above 40 degrees in Kingaroy, Dalby, Emerald, Roma and Gayndah at the weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michelle Berry said it was about 5 to 10 degrees above average.

"Essentially over the weekend there is a low pressure trough moving east over the state,” Ms Berry said.

"A hot air mass is developing over the trough system.”

Ms Berry said there would be relief from the heat early next week.

"Over Tuesday there will be a wind change over the coast,” she said.

"It will hit areas south first, Kingaroy will see some relief before Emerald.

"Tuesday will still be a hot day for Emerald.

"In Emerald it should start to get cooler from Wednesday.”

It will be 39 degrees in Emerald on Sunday, while it will hit 40 in Kingaroy.

The mercury will be 41 in Dalby, 42 in Gayndah and 43 in Roma.

Elsewhere in the state, temperatures could reach as high as 46 degrees across the weekend.

Staying safe

Darling Downs Public Health Unit Director Dr Penny Hutchinson said hot weather could lead to dehydration, sunburn and other more serious heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke.

"Heat stroke occurs when a person's core body temperature becomes high and doesn't cool down,” Dr Hutchinson said.

The condition can be caused by not drinking enough water, spending too much time in the sun and not being able to cool down quickly.

"All Queenslanders are at risk during periods of hot or prolonged high temperatures, but some people are at a higher risk of harm, such as the elderly, especially those who live alone, babies and very young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as well as those who are physically active, such as manual workers or people who play sport.

"Some of the symptoms of heat-related illness include dizziness, headaches, bright or dark urine which indicates possible dehydration, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.

"In extreme cases, heat stroke can lead to confusion or slurred speech, a rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhoea, and a loss of consciousness.

"If this occurs, it is important to call 000 as soon as possible.”

How to prevent a heat-related illness:

. Drink plenty of fluids; cool water is best. Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink, but instead drink regularly throughout the day.

. Urine colour is a good guide to hydration. It should be clear to light straw-coloured, not dark or gold.

. Stay indoors in very hot weather, preferably in an air-conditioned building, or ensure there is good airflow with fans and open windows.

. Public venues, such as air-conditioned shopping centres and pools, can provide refuge from the heat.

. People can also stay cool by taking cool showers or baths, soaking their feet in a basin of water or wetting a bandana or washer and wrapping it around their neck.

. Take time to adjust to the environment, pace yourself and limit strenuous outdoor activity where possible.

Climate change

A new report from the Climate Council has found extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, are projected to worsen across Australia as the climate warms further.

The report found while the links between climate change and some extreme weather events such as bushfires and heatwaves are well-established, the evidence linking climate change to storms and heavy rainfall is also growing.

"It's no longer a question of if climate change is influencing an extreme weather event but to what extent,” climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said.

"All extreme weather events are now occurring in an atmosphere that is hotter and wetter than it was sixty years ago. There is more energy in the system to drive more extreme weather.”

The report also found the time spent in drought is projected to increase across Australia, especially in southern Australia.

Extreme drought is expected to increase in both frequency and duration.

South Burnett


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