KUWAIT: The northwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula was swept by an abnormal heat wave during the past two days, particularly in Kuwait and Iraq, with temperatures soaring over 50 degrees Celsius, a senior meteorologist said yesterday. These unprecedented temperature levels are most likely caused by the El Nino phenomenon’s recent impact on air masses in the atmosphere, Essa Ramadan, meteorologist and consultant at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), told KUNA.
Temperatures in Kuwait reached 54 degrees Celsius last week, making Thursday the hottest day ever recorded. The blistering temperature was recorded in Mitribah in Kuwait. Weather historian Christopher C Burt, with the private Weather Underground, said the temperature is the hottest “ever reliably measured air temperatures on Earth”. Kuwait’s reading ties Death Valley’s 54 degrees Celsius (129.2 Fahrenheit) one, which was measured on June 30, 2013 as the hottest reliably measured on Earth, Burt added. Many other higher temperatures have been reported in the past but none are credible, he said.
El Nino has affected the region significantly in the past, Ramadan noted yesterday, pointing out the heavy rains in 1997 and the abnormal heat wave in 1998 with 51.4 C recorded at Kuwait International Airport at that time. He added that Kuwait was hit by dusty northwestern winds early yesterday that would gradually diminish by today, adding that temperature is also expected be lower than 50 C next week. High temperature is to continue until end of August, Ramadan said, adding that it will gradually fall after Sept 6.
Iraq’s state-run Meteorological Department said yesterday that it had registered the hottest day so far this year, with maximum temperatures hitting 53.9 degrees Celsius in the southern city of Basra. Friday’s merciless heat in Basra forced the majority of the residents to almost abandon the streets or to swim in the river. Increasing the residents’ suffering were chronic electricity outages, caused mainly by the soaring temperatures and the decline in electricity imported from neighboring Iran. – Agencies