Record heatwave: Coast faces new horror fire threat
WEATHER forecasters are warning the Sunshine Coast and much of south east Queensland are facing a weekend of high temperatures, dry air and strong winds ahead which threaten to push the fire risk to an extreme level of danger.
Temperatures are likely to break records as they soar 10 degrees above average in Nambour and Maleny to 35 degrees and by up to seven degrees on the coast.
Hot temperatures, strong winds and dry air are the unholy trifecta of elevated fire risk with Rural Fire Services training officer Ken Stockton saying the current Wildfire Level Two rating would be increased significantly going into next weekend.
Despite the slight potential for thunderstorms across Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jim Richardson said most of the activity would be in the upper atmosphere with the lower level atmosphere remaining dry.
Mr Richardson said Wednesday represented the best chance of rainfall reaching the ground but it wouldn't be much.
"There'll be an increased fire risk from Friday onwards," Mr Richardson said.
"We'll have strong winds and dry conditions. There's a trough moving through with north westerlies ahead of it carrying dryer, warmer air.
The BOM is predicting temperatures at Maroochydore to hit 29 degrees and 30 in Nambour on Friday.
On the coast the day time maximum would hit 30 degrees on Saturday and 31 on Sunday while Nambour and Maleny would climb to 32 degrees, Saturday and 34-35 degrees on Sunday.
The problem is the temperature spike would come as winds from the north north-west reach 30 kmh Saturday before increasing to 40 kmh gusts on Sunday.
Mr Stockton said north westerlies created the worst possible conditions for fire fighters bringing hot, dry air from the inland off the western plains.
"They just smash us," he said. "We are watching the weather all the time now so we can keep track as different weather fronts move through.
"We've already dodged a few bullets over the past couple of weeks."
The BOM's weekend forecast for Maroochydore on Saturday has a temperature range of 15-30 degrees on a mostly sunny day with north westerly winds from 20-30 kmh and then 17-31 degrees on a sunny, hot Sunday with north north-westerly winds gusting from 15 to 40 kmh.
In Nambour and further west into the hinterland at Maleny temperatures are expected to range from 17-32 degrees on Saturday with north westerlies at 20 to 30kmh.
The overnight minimum into Sunday is not expected to fall below 19 degrees before reaching 34-35 degrees during the day.
Inland from the coastal strip winds are expected to range between 25-40kmh.