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The Middle East Just Lived Through One of the Hottest Days in History

An Iranian city logged a 165-degree heat index last week as temperatures continue to boil

(AHMED SAAD/Reuters/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

165 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends cooking chicken to in order to make sure that it’s safe to eat. It’s also how hot it felt last Friday in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran.

A massive heat wave is currently passing across the Middle East and countries across the region are reporting near record-breaking temperatures, leaving people struggling to stay cool. An actual temperature of 115 degrees combined with 90 percent humidity pushed Bandar Mahshahr’s heat index to a scorching 165 degrees last week – and there’s no sign that it will let up anytime soon.

“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 AccuWeather Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani in a statement.

Iran’s not the only country feeling the heat. Last Thursday, the Iraqi capital of Baghdad experienced a record-breaking heat index of 125 degrees, which the National Weather Service says makes “heat stroke highly likely.” City officials declared a four-day holiday to try and keep people off the streets, but with temperatures and humidity this high and ailing infrastructure and air conditioners causing power outages, it’s hard for people to cool down, writes James Rothwell for the Telegraph.

The heat wave has already lasted almost a week with no sign of letting up soon thanks to what officials are calling a “high-pressure ridge” that has hovered over the Middle East since July, Kareem Shaheen and Saeed Kamali Dehghan report for The Guardian. According to the Washington Post, the highest heat index ever recorded was at 178 degrees Fahrenheit in Dahrhan, Saudi Arabia in 2008. If the “heat dome” doesn’t move along soon, that record could be left in the dust.

h/t Popular Science

About Danny Lewis

Danny Lewis is a multimedia journalist working in print, radio, and illustration. He focuses on stories with a health/science bent and has reported some of his favorite pieces from the prow of a canoe. Danny is based in Brooklyn, NY.

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