Queensland is about to swelter in a heatwave, with the mercury tipped to reach close to 50C in some parts of the state this week.

Temperatures in the western Queensland town of Birdsville could soar as high as 48C on Thursday. In Brisbane, temperatures are predicted to hit a sultry 39C on Saturday.

Temperatures are expected to be 5C to 10C above average across the state over the next few days.

Meteorologist Gordon Banks from the Bureau of Meteorology said a large, dry, hot mass of air stagnating in the nation’s interior was the cause.

Mr Banks said a run of such high temperatures was rare for Queensland.

‘‘We do get these bursts of several days where we’re seeing high 30s to low 40s through the (state’s) interior,’’ he said.

‘‘But what we’re seeing at the moment is that we’re having this run of days where we’re seeing mid to high 40s through the interior and that certainly is much more unusual.’’

Diamantina Shire Mayor Geoff Morton, who lives in Birdsville, said it would be business as usual in the small town on Thursday despite the forecast 48C heat, which is 1.5C shy of the 1972 record.

‘‘Once it gets over 45 (degrees) it doesn’t matter whether it’s 45 or 55, it’s still bloody hot,’’ Mr Morton said on Wednesday.

‘‘Everything’s hot, everything’s hot to touch, the ground is hot ... A few more degrees is not going to make much of a difference.’’

The long-time Birdsville resident said melted tar sticks to the tyres of passing freight trucks and locals either spend the day in air conditioning or start work early to avoid the midday heat.

‘‘If you walk down the street from 12 o’clock on you won’t see anybody. They’re hibernating,’’ he said.

‘‘They’ve got a pretty simple choice. Inside the pub is 23 degrees and outside is 53.’’

A slightly cooler change is expected to move through the state from Friday.

AAP