There’s not much new to say about the Middle East’s scorching summertime heat. Typical daytime temperatures hover at 40 °C, but a cloudless sky and wind shift can bump them anywhere between 43-48°C. An extreme heat wave has the region broiling, reaching record-high temps that caused the Iraqi government to call for a mandatory, four-day national holiday. How hot is THAT? We’ve heard of being snowed in, now here’s being boiled in!
Iraq’s hotspot was Kanaqin, reporting a July 30 high of 52°C. Baghdad trailed at 51°C and Bahrain phoned in 53°C, which Kuwait bested at 55°C. Dubai highs stayed below 45°C, but added near 100 percent humidity. Amman, Jordan averaged a balmy 39°C, but raised the stakes by blowing in an intense sandstorm that caused incoming flights to be diverted to airports in neighboring countries.
Over in Iran, Mahshahr Airport roasted at 43°C, but - using the American heat index formula (which combines temperature and humidity to estimate what the air feels like to humans) - that equates to a mind-boggling 73°C!
Heat is deadly. Heatstroke (a severe reaction to high temp) happens when a body’s core temperature reaches 39°C. Before heatstroke comes heat exhaustion, with symptoms including heavy sweating, cramping, and disorientation. It’s serious and we’re all susceptible.
The simplest way to avoid sun sickness is to limit the time that you spend in direct daylight, wear suitable clothing, and drink like a camel (they can down 40 gallons at a time!). Learn more ways to hack the heat with this Al Bawaba guide to Middle East cool!