Autumn may have officially arrived in Australia but southeastern Queensland is sweltering in an unseasonably “severe” three-day heatwave. The mercury hit a baking 40C in Gatton, an area in the Lockyer Valley in South East Queensland, on Monday – some 10 degrees higher than the March monthly average. In Warwick, an inland district about 130km southwest of Brisbane, the mercury also soared to a March record of 37.4C.
The Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland, warned of “another scorcher” for Tuesday with the possibility of “severe storms” ranging from Rainbow Beach up to Gladstone.
The meteorological agency tweeted: “Damaging winds and large hail are likely, with heavy rain also possible along the coast.
“Severe thunderstorms also possible for #SunshineCoast and inland towards Emerald.”
Further south in New South Wales, parts of Sydney were also forecast for hotter weather than normal.
Sky News Weather channel meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the worst of the heat could stick around until Thursday but will be accompanied by storms.
The weather forecaster said: “Into Tuesday, severe storms become much more likely, particularly in central Queensland, and they will be slow moving bringing lots of heavy rain.
“Damaging winds and large hail cannot be ruled out because there’s lots of instability in the atmosphere.
“The storms in Queensland will continue day in and day out until at least Friday.
“Moving into Wednesday and Thursday, storms will shift south into NSW.”
People have been urged to drink plenty of water and to look out for vulnerable people at risk from the heat.
In Western Australia, a “severe” heatwave was also forecast in several areas including Geraldton, according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology.
In addition, northern parts of Western Australia are also at threat of a tropical cyclone from the weekend onwards.
The current warning states: “Another weak tropical low (15U) was located near 8.8S 129.7E at 8am WST Monday, which is about 400 km north northwest of Darwin.
“It is expected to drift slowly west over the next few days to be over waters well north of Western Australia later in the week.
“It is expected to remain weak in the short term but there is chance it strengthens over the weekend.
“This increases the risk of a tropical cyclone for northern WA over weekend and early next week.”
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