Extreme heat wave hits the Arabian Peninsula

An extreme heat wave has set in on the Arabian Peninsula after a record-breaking heatwave in the Russian Arctic earlier this week. Temperatures reached nearly 50°C and are expected to spread further east this week toward Pakistan and northwest India.

Days after a record-breaking heat wave swept the Arctic region, even more extreme heat set in in the south, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula.

On May 18, 2021 in the Russian capital, Moscow, air temperature records of more than 100 years ago were broken: the temperature in the city reached 29.2 C, beating the previous record set in 1897.

In the rest of the European part of Russia dozens of heat records were also recorded, when the temperature was on average 7-14 C higher than usual.

On May 20, an unprecedented maximum temperature of 31.9 °C was recorded at the Naryan-Mar station north of the Arctic Circle in Russia. This broke the previous May record of 27.8 °C, and the highest temperature ever recorded was 33.9 °C, recorded in July 1990.

The extreme heat spread to the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Arabian Peninsula, where numerous weather stations recorded maximum temperatures of 46 to 49 °C, and in the past few days in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Oman, the UAE and Kuwait it reached nearly 50 °C.

Although these countries are used to extreme summer heat, this year’s heat wave is considered a rare occurrence because it came early in the season. The official start of the meteorological summer is June 1.

On May 21, the city of Arafat in Saudi Arabia recorded 46.8 °C and the city of Amara in Iraq recorded 47.6 °C. Another weather station in Soura, Oman, recorded 46.9 °C.

On Saturday, May 22, numerous weather stations in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and Oman recorded maximum temperatures of 47 to 49 °C. The city of Saikh Al Salem in the United Arab Emirates recorded a sweltering temperature of 49.6 °C.

On Saturday, Russia also broke the national heat wave record for May: the weather station in Khasavyurt recorded a temperature of 39.7 °C, the highest temperature ever recorded in spring anywhere in the country.

On Sunday, May 23, Sudantil in Qatar recorded a temperature of 47 °C , an extremely high reading for May. The temperature nearly reached the national May record of 47.7 °C set in 1986 and 2014.

A record-breaking heat wave also engulfed Turkey, with 40.4 °C in Urfa. This broke the previous record of 40.3 °C set on May 30, 2019.

The extreme heat is predicted to spread further east through southern Iran and Pakistan. The heat wave is expected to intensify in Iran, Pakistan and far northwest India, with some areas expected to reach temperatures as high as 46-48 °C.

On Thursday, May 27, in Pakistan and northern India, the heat will intensify even more to 48 °C.

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