Exceptional heat sends temperatures nearing 130 in the Middle East

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With stifling temperatures well above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, Middle Eastern countries Kuwait, Iraq and Iran have been grappling with a brutal heatwave that has lasted for nearly a week.

According to AccuWeather forecasters, temperatures in the city of Jahra, Kuwait, reached as high as 127 degrees on Wednesday, but temperatures have been maintained above 120 degrees for the past six days. The nearby city of Sulaibiya hit a 125-degree high on Thursday, with no sign of relief in the immediate future.

At Kuwait Airport, which is closer to the Persian Gulf, temperatures have been slightly lower at around 120 degrees over the past four days, but still well above the 110 degrees usual for this time of year.

The cities of Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Ahvaz in Iran also hit highs of 122 degrees, according to meteorologists from AccuWeather. In Baghdad, Iraq, residents battled temperatures topping 115 degrees and triple-digit temperatures are forecast to be a mainstay in the week ahead.

Hot Temps Kuwait June 5th

An AccuWeather temperature map of the Kuwait region showed intense heat across the region on June 5, 2022.

These extreme temperatures are particularly harsh for people in Iraq, where this spring they have struggled with eight sandstorms in a row that have shut down airports and put people on breathing apparatus.

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This latest heatwave marks the start of the Indian monsoon season, which typically lasts from June to September.

“Rainfall during the southwest monsoon accounts for about 70% of India’s total annual rainfall,” said Jason Nicholls, chief weather forecaster at AccuWeather. “It also helps replenish reservoirs and groundwater for irrigation, and boosts hydroelectric production.”

The season begins with the landmass around India, including the Middle East, heating up significantly and forming a low pressure zone. This drop in pressure causes winds blowing from the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal to form clouds.

But these temperatures are well above what would be called “extreme heat.” Ready.gov defines extreme heat as “a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees for at least two to three days.”

AccuWeather App Al Jahara, Pakistan

The AccuWeather app shows a temperature of 123 degrees on June 9, 2022 in Al Jahra, Kuwait.

And it doesn’t look like relief is in sight any time soon. Those in the area can expect the worst of the heat to last at least through the weekend, AccuWeather meteorologist Mary Gilbert said.

“Temperatures may ease over parts of Iraq and Iran over the weekend, but Saudi Arabia will remain unseasonably hot,” Gilbert said. “Much of Saudi Arabia, particularly the southern parts of the country, will continue to sizzle early next week.”

The part of Saudi Arabia bordering the Red Sea will be particularly hot as mid-June is the time of year when the highest summer temperatures can be expected.

Elsewhere in the region, countries in Africa are also seeing increases in temperature, not as sharp as in the Middle East but enough to break the 100-degree mark.

“Parts of Egypt are going to really heat up this coming weekend,” Gilbert said. “Temperatures in cities like Cairo on Saturday may rise 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, with temperatures in the mid to high 100s.”

The unbearable heat can cause heat stroke, heat cramps, and exhaustion—even death if body temperature isn’t properly regulated. In the United States, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths of any weather-related hazard, according to the website.

According to the Red Cross, the best way to protect yourself from heat-related diseases is to have adequate access to water, food and air conditioning. Avoiding foods that are too sugary, alcohol, or caffeine also helps prevent heat-related illnesses. Finally, staying in shady areas with light and breathable clothing makes life in extreme heat a little more comfortable and safer.

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