On Tuesday, Egypt’s government announced that it was extending voting in the presidential election to a third day amid widespread reports of a low voter turnout. A spokesman for the election commission told the state-run al-Ahram newspaper that voting figures across the country had reached 37 per cent. Some officials attributed this low figure to a stifling heatwave, with temperatures approaching the mid-40s Celsius in many parts of the country.
In the capital, Cairo the temperature fell just short of the record for May with a high of 39 Celsius. The average here is 31 degrees.
The temperature is expected to peak on Friday with a maximum of 43C before cooling off by around 10 degrees by the end of the weekend. Elsewhere, Aswan and Luxor both saw the mercury touch 43C on Wednesday afternoon.
Temperatures were even higher on the other side of the Red Sea. Dammam in Saudi Arabia hit 47 Celsius with Al Ahsa at 48 degrees. Dhahran topped the table with a high of 49C.
Qatar has also been feeling the heat with temperatures running around 8 degrees above average. Doha reached 47 Celsius on Wednesday.
Away from the Middle East, India has been dealing with such temperatures for a few weeks now as the heat continues to build ahead of this year’s monsoon rains. New Delhi currently has highs around 42 Celsius. Nagpur and Ahmedabad frequently touch 45 degrees.
Meanwhile, Bikaner and Barmer reached 46 and 47C respectively on Wednesday afternoon. Such heat will only be broken by the seasonal rains. They are due to arrive across the southern states at the beginning of June, but they do appear to be a few days behind schedule at the moment.