Here's how hot it is today near Boulia, a small town of 230 in the Queensland outback which locals like to tell you is halfway between Melbourne and Darwin.
It's so hot that even inside with the air-conditioning on, the floorboards are pretty much too hot to walk on. In fact, it's so hot that you can barely even tell when the air-conditioner is on.
"We have to walk outside to check," local grazier Ann Britton tells news.com.au. That's when the furnace hits you in the face.
Ann Britton runs Goodwood Station just outside Boulia with her husband Rick. It's half a million acres, give or take. Every summer's a hot summer in far western Queensland, but lately even the locals have been sweating.
Today the mercury is heading for 45 degrees, which is hotter than it has been most days. But it's not the temperature extremes that have made the last few weeks unbearable. It's the relentlessness of the heat. The fact it's there one day after the next after the next.For 25 days straight now, the mercury has nudged or exceeded 40 degrees
. "We normally get a break," Britton says. "Not this year. The heat just seems to be really claustrophobic, a really burning heat which just saps everything out of you.
Think about that for a minute if you live in one of the southern capitals. You know how we talk about heatwaves when it's been 40 degrees for a day or two? Well imagine it's been 40 for 25 days straight. Not only that, but it's been above 42 degrees for 10 days straight now
. Don't mean to go all Crocodile Dundee
on you, but that's not a heatwave, THIS is a heatwave.
The Brittons say they've turned a little Mexican in their attempt to beat the heat. "We get a bit of a reprieve from the heat in the morning so we're up early and work till lunchtime. Then we have a break in the middle of the day, a long siesta, and we might not go back to work till 4 or 5 in the afternoon."
Scott Adams, from the Mt Isa Bureau of Meteorology office (about three hours north), says it's all due to the failure of wet season, which means moisture has not been dragged down into central and southern outback Queensland.
"I'm just looking at the figures for Boulia now. Yeah, it's been really hot and dry. In recent weeks we've had a very static weather pattern which means no change of airmass which means it's just been heating up."
And up. And up. The average February maximum temperature of 40.5 degrees was two degrees above normal overall.
© Bom.gov.au/NewsComAuFourth column from the left tells you everything you need to know.
Back at Goodwood Station, the cattle selloff has begun in earnest because there's just not enough feed to go around
. The property is broken into several disjointed paercels. Some of them have had storms, others haven't.
"Where we've had storms we've been able to fatten cattle, but we're selling off now. At the best of times we can hold 6000 head or more but we're down to 4,000 now.
As the dry season approches, Ann Britton knows that rain in March is crucial if she's to avoid selling off virtually the whole herd except the precious breeders.
"It's not panic stations yet." she says. But it could be.
"We had a dust storm the other day just to add to the heat. I long to hear the patter of rain on the roof. So many people are just wanting that general wet."
Until that happens, the Brittons will keep cooking outside on the Webber. When the weather's so hot that you can't even tell that the air-conditioner is on, the last thing you feel like doing is heating up the kitchen.
And as for when the hot streak will end? Well, the forecast for Boulia for the next four days is 44, 41, 42 and 43. Relief will come on Friday. Sort of. It's only going to be 39 degrees that day.
© News.com.auThis image illustrates the grass cover on one of the better parts of the station. Good enough for now, but more rain is needed in this drought-declared area.