Humidity turns up heat on 35C maximum in Cairns
A WEATHER expert has warned Cairns residents to be prepared for oppressive heat and humidity this week, with the temperature expected to approach a 2012 high of 35C tomorrow.
The Weather Channel chief meteorologist Dick Whitaker said although southern capital cities were experiencing higher maximums, the Far North's humidity was harder to live with.
"A reading of 35C in Cairns is probably about 43C or 44C in Melbourne,'' Mr Whitaker said.
"Once you get those kinds of conditions in the tropics, it's a very high level of human discomfort.''
If Cairns reaches 35C tomorrow as predicted, it will be the city's hottest day of the year after the mercury peaked at 34.9C in February.
"It will be uncomfortable for people living in the Cairns area. It'll be a day when everybody's reaching for the airconditioner and going for a swim,'' Mr Whitaker said.
Today is expected to be fine and sunny, with a top of 34C.
"Even though the thermometer says the same, the human body will feel a lot hotter when you've got the higher level of humidity,'' Mr Whitaker said.
The soaring temperatures in the Far North have left locals scrambling for ways to keep cool, with cable skiing, trips to airconditioned shopping centres and bags of ice proving popular.
Cable Ski Cairns staff member Nathan Turner said the venue was beginning to attract greater numbers of tourists and school holiday revellers, as staff prepared for a busy summer.
"Normally through the week it's really quiet, but once school holidays pick up and the heat kicks in, it starts getting busy,'' Mr Turner said.
Mr Turner said cable skiing was an ideal way to escape the heat, with the water park also offering a kids club.
Cousins Ice Manufacturers is expecting a busy period in the lead up to Christmas, manager Brian Stone said.
Mr Stone said the store normally sold "a few tonne a day'' worth of ice, in either 4kg or 10kg bags.
Cairns Central is offering a range of holiday activities and services over the summer, including $6 weekend family movies, Drop n Shop supervised child minding and the new Fun Ahoy playground at Kids HQ.
Meanwhile, the searing summer has coincided with the RACQ issuing a statewide warning to motorists against leaving their children unattended in the car, after roadside staff performed 42 rescues across Queensland over the past fortnight.
RACQ executive general manager technical and safety policy Steve Spalding said the organisation typically attended about three to five locked car incidents every day.
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Cooling off: Daniel Blass of Kewarra Beach takes a break from the hot weather with some wake boarding at Cairns Cable Ski. Picture: STEWART McLEAN