See that deep purple in the middle of this acne-red weather report from Down Under? That right there represents 129.2° F or 54 °C — it's a brand-new shade that the Australian bureau of meteorology was forced to add to its heat index because their country is, you know, kind of on fire. "The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau's model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees," David Jones, head of the bureau's climate monitoring and prediction unit, told The Sydney Morning Herald, which notes that the previous record high was 50.7°C (123°F), recorded in 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in the southern part of Australia — right around where the new shades of hot are showing up today.
To give you an idea of just how uncomfortable this Australian heatwave really is, consider that it's just past midnight there right now ... and it's 95°F in Sydney. Doubly scary are the giant fire risks that come with the heat — risks so severe Australian officials are taking no chances and labeling the warning "catastrophic." "A 'catastrophic' warning carries the risk of significant loss of life and the destruction of many homes, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service," reports CNN.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.