Temperatures to reach up to 50ºC across Saudi Arabia this week

National Centre of Meteorology warns of highs across the kingdom until Sunday

A construction worker takes a drink of water in Riyadh as temperatures soar. AFP
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Saudi Arabia's National Centre of Meteorology has forecast high temperatures of between 46ºC and 50ºC across the kingdom until the weekend.

Temperatures in the Saudi city of Dammam reached 50ºC today and 49ºC was reported at Al Ahsa, according to the NCM.

“I read somewhere that 'we are past the stage of global warming and it is now global boiling' and that's a fact,” Yasmin Hayat, a 34-year-old Jeddah resident, told The National.

“You can really feel it. Even in your air-conditioned cars, you can feel the heat permeate and just embody you. I don't know if it was ever this hot.”

The UN announced that the world has entered an era of “global boiling”, a term used to signal the severity of climate change and its implications.

July is on course to become the hottest month on record, according to the Climate Change Institute.

“The heat is exhausting. You go out to run an errand or the usual jobs, but you come back 100 times more tired because of the heat,” said Yasser Abbas, 32, a Jeddah resident.

Dust storms are expected, and will limit visibility in parts of the Makkah region.

In response to high temperatures across the kingdom, Saudi authorities banned working under the sun for labourers between noon and 3pm.

I feel so bad seeing workers or manual labourers outside working during the hot hours. Especially those cleaning the roads are always outside
Iman Hassan, Jeddah resident

“I feel so bad seeing workers or manual labourers outside working during the hot hours,” said Iman Hassan, 29, from Jeddah.

“Especially those cleaning the roads are always outside. It is our job to make sure we do what we can for them, even if it is giving out cold bottles of water.”

The NCM predicts that temperatures will reach 50ºC in the Eastern Province this week.

“Tourism is also becoming hard in these conditions. We want to stay in cooler places and avoid risking a heat stroke or exhaustion,” said Asiya Khadi, a 36-year-old Al Ahsa resident.

“I am not allowing my kids to go out during the day. It is too hot. It is harder to have them enjoy the summer school holiday within the house, but it is better for them to go out at sunset. I make sure they are well hydrated before and after they return.”

The eastern and southern parts of the Riyadh region will also feel temperatures of between 46ºC and 48ºC, according to the NCM.

“Riyadh is boiling hot and it's so humid. You can see people driving with gloves on because the steering wheel is so hot,” said Riyadh resident Ahmad, 42.

Thousands of Hajj pilgrims suffered from heat exhaustion and heatstroke during this year.

Saudi officials reported that the temperatures soared to 48ºC during Hajj.

“Most of the rituals of Hajj, from the Day of Arafat or the distances walked from Muzdalifah to Mina, in this heat was no doubt one of the biggest challenges for any Hajj pilgrims,” said Samina Abid, a 35-year-old Jeddah resident.

“Thousands felt the heat, and while most were mild cases, some of them really suffered because of their age and health conditions.”

Saudi authorities reported that the temperature would continue to rise and remain high in the Eastern Province and parts of the central region.

The NCM's forecasts for August indicate that temperatures will be higher than normal.

Updated: July 31, 2023, 12:06 PM