Queensland sizzles in 48-degree temps

Last updated 14:57 03/01/2014

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Searing temperatures that have set new heat records in central Queensland are heading to the state's southeast.

Four weather stations recorded their highest ever January temperatures on Thursday as a stagnant mass of hot air in central Australia continued to affect inland Queensland.

In the state's northwest, Century Mine reached 44.5C and 45.6C  in Camooweal, while further south temperatures at the Monument hit 45.5C, and 46C in Bedourie.

However, it was Birdsville residents in southwest Queensland who endured the hottest temperatures in Queensland when the mercury  reached a scorching 48.1C at 4pm local time.

Forecasters say a trough coming from the west is pushing the hot air southeast, and Brisbane and surrounding districts will be affected in coming days.

The temperature in Brisbane is predicted to soar to 37 degrees  on Friday and 41 on Saturday.

West of the capital, residents of Ipswich and Gatton are set to endure 43-degree heat on Saturday.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Pradeep Singh said Queensland's wet  season was unusually late in arriving for the second year in a row.

''Normally the monsoon starts affecting northern Australia around  late December/January but it didn't happen last year and it hasn't happened this year, so the heat's just been building up over inland  parts of Australia,'' he told AAP.

The senior meteorologist said a high pressure ridge that was  suppressing cloud and thunderstorm activity would be replaced by a  trough next week.''Consequently we'll see some showers and storms developing over eastern Queensland, and of course it will also bring cooler  temperatures,'' Mr Singh said.

The heatwave is bad news for firefighters battling a blaze on  Stradbroke Island off the southeast coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned there is a very high fire danger in the southeast which will probably be upgraded to severe  on Saturday.

There is also a high to severe fire danger warning current in the state's southwest.

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- AAP

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