Brisbane has avoided a predicted 36-degree scorcher, with a sea breeze sparing the city from the worst of the heat.
Other parts of the state — especially the west — were roasted as temperatures soared well above October averages into the 40s.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Sam Campbell said Birdsville reached 44.4 degrees Celsius, about 11 degrees above average.
“We’re still expecting severe to extreme heatwave conditions over the northern and central interior of the state — we could even see some record temperatures fall over the weekend in those areas,” Mr Campbell said.
In Brisbane the maximum was 32C, while it was 30.8C at Coolangatta and 33.9C at the Sunshine Coast Airport.
“It turned out today it was actually the sea breeze that’s provided a bit of relief in Brisbane city and areas around the coast,” Mr Campbell said.
“But just a little bit further to the west around Archerfield it got up to 35C and Ipswich got up to 36.2C, so it really was a near thing that we didn’t get to 36C with those hotter temperatures just a bit further west.”
‘Stay inside, keep your fluids up’
Earlier, Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Tony Hucker said paramedics were prepared for extra call-outs, responding to heat stress.
“Particularly when it comes up so quickly, there’s a real risk,” he said.
“The people we’re most concerned about when there’s a heat event is the older folks, young kids and people who are sick at home.
“It’s about making sure you stay inside where it’s cool, wear loose-fitted clothing, keep your fluids up.”
Longreach’s Birdcage Hotel owner Gavin Ballard said although western parts of Queensland were expected to soar above 40C, most locals were used to the heat.
“Everyone is pretty used to it if you’ve been out here for a few years, you’re well and truly aware that it’s going to get hot,” Mr Ballard said.
“It gets hard for the workers who work in it — the bricklayers, the chippies and the painters and all those boys, they’ll feel it this time of year.”
The owner of Albert Hotel in Monto, Dianne Falzon, said she had adjusted the restaurant’s menu for the predicted heat.
“People do eat to the weather, so no doubt there will be a lot of salads,” Ms Falzon said.
“Just grab a coldy, come into the front bar, we’ve always got a nice breeze coming through this hotel.
“I call it the Monto Doctor. It comes in about 4:00 in the afternoon and it’s absolutely beautiful.”
Gold Coast acting chief lifeguard Chris Maynard said he was expecting a busy day with thousands flocking to the beach.
“From October onwards it starts to heat up so we’re expecting some good crowds to hit the beaches,” Mr Maynard said.
“The water temperature is beautiful, it’s got up to about 24 degrees and it’s just important to stay well inside those flagged areas and put plenty of sunscreen on obviously and drink plenty of fluids.”
Heat follows a night of hail
The heat came after a night of hail and wild storms in parts of the south-east.
Fences and trees were flattened on the Darling Downs, while at Oakey 120kph winds were recorded.
Oakey resident Rod Smith said trees were knocked down on his street.
“I had a bit of barbecue setting on my pergola. Just blew it straight off into the other fella’s yard,” he said.
“[The storm] sort of came from the south real bad. Hail was probably the size of 10-cent pieces, might have been a bit bigger.”
At Fassifern Valley on the Scenic Rim, farmers estimated the hail caused $10 million worth of damage to crops on more than 20 farms.
Carrots, onions, broccoli, and beans, many of which were ready for harvest, were destroyed.
Richard Gorman from Kalfresh said he had not seen anything like it in 25 years.
“It was just a real freak storm. It twisted irrigators up and turned them around,” he said.
“We have these half-tonne bins that we pick our onions in and the wind’s blown them all over the place into the creeks and over the top of power lines, and it’s blown them kilometres away from where they were.”
Mr Gorman said the hail fell almost horizontally.
“We’ve got a carrot crop where it’s just taken the tops off them better than you could ever achieve it with a slasher. I’ve never seen hail damage like that … and it’s very concentrated.”