Australia keeps breaking records after registering its hottest average temperature for the second day in a row.
Wednesday's average of 41.9C across the country was one degree hotter than the previous record set on Tuesday.
With Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart in the 20s through Thursday, the record is unlikely to be broken for a third-successive day.
But also on Thursday, the tiny roadhouse community of Nullarbor in South Australia set the record for the country's highest December temperature, reaching 49.9C.
Eucla in Western Australia also sweltered at 49.8, topping the previous record of 49.5, set at Birdsville, Queensland in 1972.
The Bureau of Meteorology also reported Queensland's Julia Creek had 14 consecutive days above 42C, reaching 44C on Thursday.
Darwin hit 35.6C at 2.13pm while Sydney and Canberra stayed one degree shy of 40C and Adelaide reached 45.1C at 5.10pm.
The 39.3C sweltering through Canberra at 3.16pm on Thursday set the capital's hottest December day, while Adelaide could also be set for its hottest December day on Friday, with an upgraded forecast high of 46C.
Australia's average maximum temperature record could be broken again on Friday, with intense heat expected nationwide.
The heatwave will only continue to intensify, with southern and central Australia experiencing temperatures up to 16C above average by Friday.
Parts of Tasmania are set to reach temperatures about 16C above the state average on Friday as the extreme heat gripping mainland Australia spreads south.
The mercury is expected to be at its hottest in the Derwent Valley at 36C, while Hobart is forecast to hit 33C.
Melbourne is forecast to hit 44C on Friday. The last time it climbed that high in December was 1876.
Sydney will have a break from intense heat with temperatures forecast to stay in the low 20s.
Brisbane and Darwin will begin a relatively milder weekend with maximums in the mid 30s.
Perth will hope to have a break from the bushfires with a partly cloudy forecast of 27C.
Australian Associated Press