A combination of extreme heat and humidity yielded extraordinary heat index of 73 °C (163 °F) in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran on Friday, July 31. The on-going heat wave also brought record high temperatures of 51 °C (124 °F) to Baghdad on Thursday, July 30.
A measured temperature of 46 °C (115 °F) and a dew point temperature of 32 °C (90 °F) caused the air in Bandar Mahsharh to feel like 73 °C (163 °F). "That was one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world", said Anthony Sagliani, the AccuWeather meteorologist.
"A strong ridge of high pressure has persisted over the Middle East through much of July, resulting in the extreme heat wave in what many would consider one of the hottest places in the world. Around the Persian Gulf, where water temperatures are in the lower to middle 90s °F (30s °C), the extreme heat combines with incredibly high humidity to produce astounding apparent temperatures," Sagliani explained.
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"As the land heats up around the Persian Gulf, the air rises quickly and rushes inland from the Gulf, creating an onshore wind that pulls humid air sitting over the waters into coastal communities," he said.
The humidity of the air is heightened this season, as well, due to higher than usual water temperatures in the Persian Gulf: "Believe it or not, it is always very humid in these places surrounding the Persian Gulf during the summer, but the nature of the extreme heat wave is causing some of the highest combinations of heat and humidity ever observed."
Iran's heat index estimated on July 31, nearly broke a world record of 2003, when 81 °C (178 °F) was suffocating the residents of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia.
The highest temperature ever recorded on Asian grounds measured 54 °C (129 °F) in Tirat Tzvi, Izrael on June 21, 1942 in the time of Holocaust. However, there are some doubts related to the accuracy of this record, according to the Weather Channel which reports the 53.6 °C (128.5 °F) measured in Kuwait in 2012, as a valid Asian record.
In Baghdad, four days in a row the temperatures soared above 48.8 °C (120 °F), while temperatures in Izrael varied between 32 °C (90 °F) in the center of the country, to 45 °C (113°F) near the Sea of Galilee.
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According to the current weather forecast the extreme heat across the Middle East will not loosen it's grip anytime soon, as the ridge of high pressure still remains in place: "Right now, it appears as though the ridge of high pressure will remain in place across the Middle East through at least the next week, so more oppressive heat and humidity, and more astounding apparent temperatures, are likely through the next several days," added Sagliani.
People are warned to take all the necessary precautions to avoid the health related consequences of the prolonged exposure to extreme heat conditions.
Featured image: Middle-East heatwave breaks records, July 31, 2015. Image credit: NewsBeat Social