Scorching temperatures likely to come close to record

DIRECT sun temperatures between 60 and 64 degrees Celsius will scorch the far-western reaches of Capricornia on Saturday.

Local weatherman Mike Griffin said the dangerously high temperatures were the result of a band of hot air that was moving from central Australia into south-western Queensland.

It reached the Warrego, Maranoa and the Central West on Friday, with the effects to be felt Saturday on the Central Highlands and Coalfields.

They would also be felt in Rockhampton, with 41 degrees the forecast maximum. (Official temperatures are taken in the shade.)

But Mr Griffin said that could well be exceeded.

"Maximum temperatures are likely to come close to breaking January records, with temperatures over 42 degrees, possibly reaching the mid-40s west of Rockhampton," he said.

"This will enhance fire dangers, with the possibility of fires across Central Queensland."

Mr Griffin said that afternoon and evening high-based thundery showers with evening lightning and brief light falls would bring some slight relief over the weekend.

A south-easterly change should pass through the south-eastern half of Queensland late on Tuesday.

This should let maximums falls by 10 to 12 degrees across Capricornia and the Central Highlands on Wednesday and Thursday.

There was a chance of light to moderate showers from 1mm to 8mm in the east, and isolated storms could bring falls of 20mm to 40mm from the Callide to the Central Highlands.

Mr Griffin said the heatwave conditions were due to ex-Tropical Cyclone Christine, which lashed the Pilbara region of Western Australia early this week.

As it moved inland towards the Goldfields, it dumped a record 65mm of rain on Kalgoorlie in a few hours.

2013 THE HOTTEST

It's official - 2013 was Australia's hottest year on record.

The Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement 2013 showed that average temperatures were 1.20°C above the long-term average of 21.8°C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17°C.

All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013.

The year started with a persistent heatwave in January, with Australia recording its hottest day (January 7), hottest week, and hottest month on record.

A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39°C - seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.



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