Hot Queensland Christmas

Buyers who lined up from 3:00am for prawns on the Gold Coast will be glad they did with trawlers selling out by 7:30am, as Queenslanders prepare for temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius above average for Christmas Day.

With a top of 33C and the chance of a late thunderstorm in Brisbane, many people are swapping the traditional dishes such as turkey and ham for prawns and mango salad.

The Bureau of Meteorology will have staff working around the clock on Christmas Day, keeping an eye on storms.

Senior forecaster Diana Eadie said even along the coast, temperatures were expected to be about three degrees above average.

“In terms of temperatures, we’re forecasting widespread temperatures around five to 10 above average, particularly through the southern interior,” she said.

Birdsville is expected to be the hottest in the state, predicted to hit 46C.

Severe storms are likely to begin rolling across the south-east corner of the state by late afternoon.

“At this stage there is a risk of severe thunderstorms particularly over the south-eastern parts of the Darling Downs, around the Granite Belt and the Southern Border Ranges as well,” she said.

“We couldn’t rule out some of those severe thunderstorms impacting some of the metro areas so there is a possibility we could see severe storms around the Gold Coast area, not as likely around Brisbane itself but there’s still a chance further inland.”

Buyers miss out on prawns despite lining up at 5:00am

The line-up for prawns on the Gold Coast stretched 250 metres on Christmas Eve morning, with many lining up before dawn.

People lining up for seafood

Michael Keegan wasn’t far from the head of the line after arriving at 3:00am.

“It’s all about the experience isn’t it, so I’ve got a story to tell tomorrow when everyone rocks around to my place and want to dig in to a few of my prawns,” he said.

“They’ll owe me a few beers, because of the wait and the effort I put in.”

Getting in early was the way to go, as the fresh prawns were sold out by about 7:30am.

Sharon Forster and her three children missed out, despite lining up before 5:00am.

“We woke up early for nothing, we stayed in the line for nothing,” her young daughter said.

Ms Forster was more optimistic, she said they would try somewhere else.

But, trawlers knew the produce would be in short supply.

Person holds a clear bag of prawns

The Fisherman’s Co-op Chairman Richard Hamilton said unfortunately there were low catch rates.

“Demand far exceeds what we catch, this time of year,” he said.

“It’s nothing different from every year, but the demand for fresh local seafood caught off the Gold Coast is very high and people are willing to wait.”

Manager at Morgan’s Seafood Market in Scarborough, north of Brisbane, Julie Hansson, said they also had people lining up for fresh seafood since the early hours.

“I got here at 3:00am and I had queues down the road … we actually opened 45 minutes early and we haven’t stopped since

“Prawns and bugs have been the most popular order.”

Organic farmer at Miami organic markets Elaine Heineck said in this weather people liked to have that nice fresh light food, rather than the hot roasts.

“Prawns, avocado, mango and macadamias in a salad, which sounds very yummy,” she said.