BOM's forecast for 4pm AEDST on Monday, 14 January 2013.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
January 2013 could become a landmark in Australian weather history, as we look likely to break the heat record set more than 60 years ago.
On 2 January 1960, Australia reached its highest-ever temperature (PDF): 50.7 degrees Celsius, in Oodnadatta, a small town toward the north of South Australia.
If the Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) forecast is anything to go by, that record is about to get thumped off its throne. The heatwave coming over the next week looks to be so severe that BOM has added two new colours to the weather map — purple and magenta — to bring the top limit to 54 degrees Celsius to accommodate the rise.
However, although the weather is still heating up, BOM has added that it is only the most likely of a number of weather projections, telling The Sydney Morning Herald that it could be wrong. Head of climate monitoring Aaron Coutts-Smith told the newspaper, "The indications are, from the South Australian office, that we are not looking at getting anywhere near that [50-degree level]."
You can check out BOM's interactive temperature map for the next seven days here, with the new colour purple making an appearance at 4pm AEDST on Sunday, 13 January and 4pm AEDST on Monday, 14 January.
Stay hydrated, and stay safe.