Sweltering conditions expected throughout the week after scorching weekend
Cool relief: English backpackers Tom Baker and Ella Jefferies were feeling the Cairns heat yesterday before heading to the Esplanade Lagoon for a dip. Picture: STEWART McLEAN.
SWELTERING conditions have hit the Cairns region and the weather bureau is warning it will intensify through the week, with high temperatures and possible thunderstorms over the next four to five days.
Cairns peaked at 30.6C yesterday, equal to the November average maximum, but there are predictions of temperatures rising above 32C during the week with humidity up to 80 per cent.
On the Tableland, temperatures at Mareeba, with an average of 31C at this time of year, were expected to climb to 37C. The temperature at Mareeba peaked at 34.5C at 2.27pm yesterday.
The onset of hot weather forced the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service to issue a warning after two people were admitted to Cairns Base Hospital suffering from dehydration. While the onset of a tropical summer is not far away, the Far North is likely to be spared the extreme conditions that lashed the state's southeast at the weekend.
Large areas of Brisbane were last night still without power and a major clean up was under way after violent electrical storms hit the state's capital.
Peak temperatures around the Far North yesterday included:
Horn Island: 32.1C at 12.29pm
Weipa: 34.8C at 1.15pm
Palmerville: 37.6C at 4pm
Cooktown: 32.4C at 11.52am
Mareeba: 34.5C at 2.27pm
Cairns: 30.6C at 1.45pm
South Johnstone: 31.7C at 11.54am
"There is a broad trough over southeast Queensland and we are at the northern extent of it," Cairns weather bureau duty forecaster Bill O'Connor said.
Rainfall is likely to be moderate in thunderstorm areas, with storms beginning on the Tableland and working their way down to the coast.
Locals and tourists headed to freshwater swimming holes, the Esplanade Lagoon and northern beaches yesterday afternoon to escape the heat.
"We have a few more (visitors) than usual," North Queensland Surf Life Saving Queensland branch president Col Sparkes said.
"At Palm Cove at the moment the weather is very calm and we have about 40 people swimming inside the net, and 120 on the beach."
English backpackers Tom Baker and Ella Jefferies, who have been in Cairns for a week, were feeling the heat yesterday and headed to the Esplanade Lagoon for a refreshing dip.
"It was a bit too hot earlier when we were walking around but it has cooled us off down here," Mr Baker said.
"The climate here is lovely though, it is just what we were looking for."
Emergency Management Queensland northern region executive manager Cheryl-Lee Fitzgerald urged residents to be prepared as the storm and cyclone season drew nearer.
Cairns Base Hospital emergency medicine specialist Dr Mark Little said that with temperatures rising, it was important to remind people to drink plenty of water and avoid exposure to the hottest parts of the day.
"In severe cases, dehydration can result in shock, which affects blood flow in the body, and can even result in death," Dr Little said.