SWELTERING daytime highs are forecast to hit south-east Queensland as a severe heatwave scorches southern Australia.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Lauren Pattie said a low pressure system was drawing hot desert air to south of the border.
Severe heatwave conditions were forecast to hit most of New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Southern Australia and Tasmania by Wednesday, she said.
Daytime highs would rise by a few degrees across south-east Queensland but not enough to qualify as a heatwave, she said.
Ms Pattie said heatwaves were only declared when overnight temperatures were also tipped to rise above average.
Overnight temperatures across south-east Queensland were expected to dip to between 20 and 23 degrees, which was usual for this time of year, she said.
“Heatwave conditions need daytime highs above average and minimums above average too,” she said.
“It is just two to three degrees above average (during the day) on Wednesday where it peaks.”
The mercury is tipped to hit 35 degrees in Beaudesert and between 31 and 32 degrees at Jimboomba and the Redlands today.
Daytime highs are forecast to peak on Wednesday, reaching 36 at Beaudesert, before cooling from Thursday.
The warm weather comes on the back of Australia’s third hottest year on record.
Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Dr Lynette Bettio said average daily highs across the country were the second warmest on record last year, with average lows the eleventh warmest on record.
"The average maximum temperature for the country as a whole was particularly warm, sitting 1.55 °C above the 1961 to 1990 average,” she said.
"Average minimum temperatures for 2018 were 0.73 °C above average, the eleventh-warmest on record.”
She said nine of the 10 warmest years on record had occurred since 2005.