Heat out west creates state of emu-rgency

 

EMUS have invaded Longreach as extreme weather of drought and flooding rains engulfs the Sunshine State.

Locals have dubbed it an "emu-rgency", while forecasters predict rain in coming days will offer a welcome break from a scorching 45-degree heatwave and seven-year dry spell.

"It's very unusual,'' local Betty Forster, an ex-drover and emu-lover, said yesterday.

"But it's been so bloody hot and dry.

"We've got big mobs of thirsty emu, brolga, jabiru and kangaroo coming into town, looking for a feed and a drink.

"Poor buggers, there's nothing left out bush for them.''

Betty Forster greets Emus outside her home in Longreach as they come in looking for a feed and a drink. Picture: Lachie Millard
Betty Forster greets Emus outside her home in Longreach as they come in looking for a feed and a drink. Picture: Lachie Millard

Residents have to shut their gates, and some leave bowls of water on the footpath, to keep the big birds and roos out of gardens.

Police advise motorists to give way to roos and emus, emblems of Australia's national coat of arms, to prevent accidents.

"They just waltz about, like they own the place,'' said cafe worker Cassy Delahunty.

"But we love them. It's a novelty to see them in town.''

Up north, crocodiles have been spotted in front yards and a swimming pool after the first decent wet season in three years.

Huge parts of west and northwest Queensland remain drought-declared, but widespread rain is predicted over the next four days.

Large groups of emus have taken over the town. Picture: Lachie Millard
Large groups of emus have taken over the town. Picture: Lachie Millard

Temperatures are expected to plunge by up to 10 degrees to a more comfortable 31C after days of prolonged heat out beyond the Great Diving Range.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Sean Fitzgerald would not be drawn on the wild and wacky weather and wildlife.

"It certainly is interesting,'' the meteorologist said.

"We've got the Cape in a flood watch, a moderate chance of a cyclone in the Coral Sea on Sunday, drought out west, and one of the coldest ever days in Brisbane for February on record.

"But there is good news with rain on the way and a cool change coming."

Brisbane reached a high of 21.7 degrees yesterday and forecasters predict similar temperatures again today. Rain will become lighter around lunchtime and clear tomorrow.

Ssevere drought conditions afre forcing Emus into the town. Picture: Lachie Millard
Ssevere drought conditions afre forcing Emus into the town. Picture: Lachie Millard

Central Queensland had a brief downpour yesterday and will receive more today with a 90 per cent chance of rain, particularly in the south, before moving north on Sunday.

Below-average temperatures in the 20s are forecast across the region. Rockhampton should expect 25 degrees today with rain at times.

North Queensland has a 40 per cent chance of a shower this morning and afternoon, before turning heavier tomorrow.

Cairns is forecast to hit a partly cloudy 32 degrees today with the rest of the region expecting temperatures in the low 30s all weekend.

Lifeguards expect beach conditions to ease over the weekend, but have urged surfers and swimmers to pay attention to any beach closures and stay close to the shore in choppy surf.



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