Stock at risk as mercury to plunge by 14 degrees in ‘brutal’ cold front

Lambs and sheep could die in southern Queensland when a brutal cold snap hits and pushes the mercury below zero.

Apr 30, 2020, updated Apr 30, 2020
Warm, moist weather conditions caused by La Nina are putting Queensland sheep at risk. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Warm, moist weather conditions caused by La Nina are putting Queensland sheep at risk. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

The weather bureau has warned graziers on the Darling Downs and Granite Belt they could lose animals as a huge mass of cold air closes in.

Temperatures are expected to start dropping from Thursday afternoon, when there’s also a possibility of a severe thunderstorm in Brisbane.

It’s the overnight minimum temperatures that have the bureau worried about stock losses.

At Stanthorpe, on the Southern Downs, the minimum temperature will hit 3C on Friday, before plunging to minus 2C on Sunday and Monday.

It’s a similar story in other southern rural communities west of Brisbane.

In a warning to sheep graziers, the bureau said the cold would be accompanied by rain, showers and southwesterly winds from Thursday.

“There is a risk of losses of lambs and sheep exposed to these conditions,” it said.

But wool traders have told the ABC only newly shorn sheep will be at risk and those that still have their fleeces should be ok.

Brisbane is also set for chilly conditions, with the minimum on Friday to drop to 14C, and just 9C on Saturday and Sunday.

BOM senior forecaster Sam Campbell said a cold front was moving through southern and central Queensland.

“In the wake of that system, much colder air has moved into the west and south of the state,” he said.

“That’s going to see temperatures dropping by about 10 to 14 degrees [Celsius] compared to what we saw yesterday [Wednesday].

“By Friday, most of the interior of the state and parts of southeastern Queensland will be seeing temperatures about five to 12 degrees below the average.

“Those coldest temperatures will be over the western and southern parts of Queensland.”

Minimum temperatures over the weekend are forecast to plummet in the west to 3C in St George, 7C in Longreach and 9C in Mount Isa.

The BOM said frosts were possible in Queensland’s southern interior.


Additional reporting by ABC/Tim Swanston

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