A post is being widely shared on social media claiming that photos show Kuwait experiencing a very high temperature and that it recorded 73 degrees Celsius in the sun and 54 degrees Celsius in the shade. The post also claims that the high temperatures led to the burning of a number of places, vehicles, and plastic objects such as plastic tanks. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Photos of Kuwait recording 73 degrees Celsius in the sun and 53 degrees Celsius in the shade.
Fact: All the photos attached to the post are old. Photo 1 was taken in Arizona, USA in June 2018. Photo 2 is circulating on social media since 2019. Photo 3 is from an article published on Kuwait in 2016. Photo 4 has been circulating on social media since 2018 in different contexts. However, the world record for the highest temperature stands at 56.7 degree Celsius, recorded at Death Valley in Furnace Creek Ranch, California, on 10 July 1913 and not 73 degrees Celsius. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When reverse image search is done on the first photo, a fact-check article by Snopes was found with the title, ‘Did cars melt in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait due to a heat wave’ published on 10 July 2018. The article says the photograph is real, but the pictured vehicles did not melt due to extremely hot weather in Arizona (or anywhere else); the damage was caused by a fire at a nearby construction site. ‘Tucson News Now’ reported that the fire broke out at a worksite near the University Vista apartments at the University of Arizona on the morning of 19 June 2018. In addition to the two pictured vehicles, at least a dozen more cars were damaged by the blaze.
When reverse image search is done on the second photo, we could not find the exact source of the photo, but it has been floating around in social media since 2019. A Facebook post published on 20 August 2019 by ‘Chtoukapress’ read in English as ‘The heat, my Lord, safety’ had the same photo attached in its post. ‘Chtoukapress’, according to its website, is an electronic newspaper. Another Facebook post also carried the same photo published on 10 July 2020.
When reverse image search is done on the third photo, an article by ‘Kuwait Local’ published on 23 July 2016 titled, ‘MP Ahmad Lari Urges Increasing the Weekends from 2 days to 3 days due to high temperatures.’ However, there was no mention of the exact high temperatures prevalent in Kuwait at that time. According to an article by ‘greennews’, the all-time heat record for the Eastern Hemisphere of 54 degree Celsius was set in Kuwait. This article was published on 26 July 2016. Some meteorologists suggest that it may even be the hottest verified temperature on the planet and this story received very little mainstream media coverage, according to the article.
When reverse image search is done on the fourth photo, we could not find the exact source of the photo, but it has been floating around in social media since 2018. A satirical Facebook post published on 06 July 2018 shared the photo in the context of Iraq.
According to an article in the Guardian, on 21 July 2016 the temperature in Mitribah, north-west Kuwait, reached 53.9 degrees Celsius. This was, at the time, the third-highest reading reliably recorded on Earth, and the hottest ever for the whole of Asia. The world record for the highest temperature stands at 56.7 degrees Celsius, recorded at Death Valley in Furnace Creek Ranch, California, on 10 July 1913, this is according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) database hosted on the Arizona State University website. For India, the record is 51 degrees Celsius, witnessed in Phalodi, Rajasthan, on 19 May 2016, according to the article by CNN.
FACTLY had earlier debunked the claim about Kuwait recording the world’s highest temperature. The article written in 2019 can be seen here.
To sum it up, old photos are being shared with a false narrative of ‘Kuwait recording 73-degrees temperature’.