Health experts warn ahead of Gympie's hottest day in years
HEALTH experts warn Gympie residents should take extra precautions today as the region prepares to sweat through its hottest day since 2017.
Bureau of Meteorology forecasts predict the mercury will reach a scorching maximum of 39C, 9C above the monthly average and not felt since the freakish 41.2C maximum on February 12 two years ago.
Queensland Ambulance Service Clinical Director Tony Hucker said simple steps would help avoid heat-related health risks.
"When you know it is going to be really hot, make sure you avoid the hottest part of the day,” Mr Hucker said.
"If you're doing to do strenuous activity make sure you have lots of breaks, have lots of water with you.
"The biggest risk is dehydrating and overheating. Heat-related syndromes can be fatal if you don't manage them, but if you take simple steps you can avoid that.”
Mr Hucker advised residents to look out for older neighbours and young kids during the heatwave.
Among the locals expecting to cop the brunt of the stifling maximum was Bolt Scaffolding owner Bill Stephens, who said his crew would be taking every measure to protect themselves.
"We make sure to slow down, take lots of breaks, and do as much work as we can in the morning,” Mr Stephens said.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service figures showed 15 people had been taken to Gympie Hospital and 32 to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for heat-related illnesses so far this year.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Lachlan Stoney said high humidity could make today's conditions feel even worse.
Mr Stoney said a continually heating "stagnant air mass” sitting across most of southern Queensland was to blame for the heatwave.
"Rising air in the monsoon in the tropics is moving south and as it descends over the continent becomes warm and dry,” he said.
Tomorrow's maximum is predicted to remain above the February average at 33C before cooling down to 30C by the weekend.
Gympie's hottest temperature so far this summer was 38.7C on December 2.