Heatwave brings hidden lethal threat to Queenslanders

QUEENSLANDERS face UV exposure of up to five times the safe limit this week as temperatures soar.

Predictions of the level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation this week are as high as 17, which is described as "extreme". People are warned to stay out of the sun when the UV level is just three.

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said exposure to UV radiation could be lethal.

"It's vital that Queenslanders and tourists keep an eye on real-time UV levels, which can be high from as early as 7am until late afternoon most days in summer," she said.

The UV index, which is on a scale from 1 to 20, indicates how much radiation reaches the Earth's surface.

"The higher the UV level, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eyes, and the less time it takes for harm to occur," Ms Clift said.

"You can't see or feel UV radiation; it's not related to heat or temperature. UV levels can be high on cool and cloudy days in Queensland."

It is forecast to be a partly cloudy day around Queensland today, but definitely not a cool one, with temperatures forecast to reach 32C in Brisbane, 40C in Rockhampton and 43C in Birdsville.

The hot conditions are expected to hang around until tomorrow in the southeast before moving north.

Yesterday was a scorcher in the southeast with the mercury climbing to 32.6C on the Gold Coast, 34.6C in Brisbane and 38.8C in Gatton.

The Queensland Ambulance Service's Wide Bay chief superintendent Russell Cooke said Maryborough could reach record temperatures this weekend.

"High temperatures will continue over the weekend with a high of 39C predicted on Saturday - only a few degrees short of the record high of 40.6C in 1979," he said.

"Last Saturday paramedics were called to more than 60 Queenslanders suffering from heat-related illness."

TODAY'S FORECAST TEMPERATURES:

Mackay 34C

Rockhampton 40C

Gladstone 36C

Bundaberg 36C

Hervey Bay 35C

Gympie 36C

Maroochydore 33C

Ipswich 34C

Toowoomba 32C

Warwick 33C

News Corp Australia


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