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Deadly heat with +53 °C / 125°F baking Death Valley, Iraq, and Kuwait

Feeling hot? It can be worse. Much worse. Extremely dangerous excessive heatwaves have developed across parts of the desert Southwest United States and the Middle East. Many areas are experiencing deadly heat. California and Arizona are experiencing 115-120F (= 46-48 °C), Death Valley even up to 125F (or +53 °C). Parts of Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait are approaching the all-time records, reaching up to +53 °C (= 127F) these days!

The preliminary data for July 2020 indicates that it was unusually hot weather across Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas. A broad area reported Top 10 heat or even record level values!

July 2020 across SW US. Graphics: Oregon State University
Up to +53 °C across Iraq, Iran and Kuwait


There has been excessive extreme heat across the Middle East lately. Temperatures are soaring well above 50°C (120F) in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and also Saudi Arabia. The highest temperatures reached +53 °C (=128F) in Iraq and Kuwait over the past few days.

Maximum temperature across Middle East. Graphics: Ogimet

The pattern across the Middle East promotes the extreme deadly heat to continue into early August. Attached is the weather model map for Sunday (Aug 2nd) and Wednesday (Aug 5th).

2m temperature forecast across the Middle East for Sunday. Graphics: Wxcharts

2m temperature forecast across the Middle East for Wednesday. Graphics: Wxcharts

The highest temperature ever recorded in Kuwait was +53.9 °C (= 129 degrees F), measured in the town of Mitribah, on July 21st, 2016.

Up to 120F in parts of SW United States


A strong high-pressure system has established over the southwest US, resulting in extremely high temperatures. Although the region is used to extreme scorching heat each summer, the amount of heat this July has shattered all-time records! July 2020 was the hottest on record for Phoenix, Arizona. Temperatures were up to +48 °C / 118F this week:

2m temperature forecast across the United States. Graphics: Climate Reanalyzer

A deadly heatwave has developed across a large part of the southwest United States. Including Arizona, inland California (Death Valley), Nevada, and New Mexico. As we can see on the warning graphics from the National Weather Service in Phoenix, a rare and dangerous deadly heat is spread across Arizona this weekend.

Deadly heatwave warning for Arizona. Graphics: NWS Phoenix

Official warning for excessive heat by NWS Phoenix, AZ:

IMPACTS… Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities. Multiple days of high temperatures of 110 to 115 in the Las Vegas Valley, Kingman area, and Twentynine Palms. 115 to 120-degree highs in the Colorado River Valley expected.

Maximum temperature across SW United States. Graphics: Ogimet

According to the NWS Phoenix, the preliminary data for the month of July 2020 suggest it was the hottest month on record for Phoenix, Arizona. The average temperature of 99.0 °F (=37.2 °C) breaks the old record of 98.3 °F (=36.8 °C) set in July 2009 and tied in August 2011:

Extreme heating of the ground is often resulting in very steep temperature gradient at the surface. A receipt for dust devils formation. Here is one example from Arizona a few days ago. The vortex was picking dust and ash from the nearby bush fire:
Excessive heat in Death Valley


The highest temperatures are often recorded in the Death Valley. And so is this summer. Although the highest values were recorded in mid-July – it was up to +53 °C (= 128F) as well – temperatures are reaching around 49-50 °C or 120-122F this weekend.

Here is an interesting photo of Death Valley park rangers photographed near the temperature display in front of the Visitors Centre in Furnace Creek on July 13th. Indeed that is an error reading of 129F / +59 °C, the official report was 128F (= 53.3 °C) in Furnace Creek, CA. Nevertheless, the photo is remarkable.

Furnace Creek holds the World Record for the highest temperature ever measured. On July 10th, 1913 the peak temperature reached +56.7 °C or 134F!

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