TEMPERATURES OF 62°C IN KUWAIT?
A message is currently doing the rounds on social media – supported by a number of pictures – that temperatures of 62°C in Kuwait has caused trees to burst into flames, traffic lights to melt and cars to dissolve.
Christian sources added to the original message, linking it to Revelation 16:8-9: “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” Thus, attributing this phenomenon to the fact that we are in the ‘end-times’ before the return of Christ.
The temperature hit a record 62°C (143.6°F) in Kuwait in July 2017, causing several trees to burst into flames.
In July 2017, social media users shared videos and images of burning trees and melting traffic lights, the purported results of a record-breaking heatwave in Kuwait during which temperatures soared to 62° Celsius (143.6° Fahrenheit).
Firstly, a 62° Celsius day has never been recorded. The highest temperature on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, was 56.7°C (134°F) on 10 July 1913 in Furnace Creek, California. The highest temperature in Kuwait, 54°C, was recorded in Mitrabah in July 2016. Although the footage of trees burning is likely real, the claim that these fires were caused by 62° Celsius temperatures is unfounded.
The weather in Kuwait hovered around 50°C during July 2017.
The web site Frontnews.eu shared one of the most popular videos of this claim, showing a tree burning on the side of the road along with the report that the temperature had reached 62°C in Kuwait.
This particular video was actually shot in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, and captured a palm tree that was struck by lightning, as the website alweeam.com reported (translated by Google Translate and edited for clarity):
“Lightning struck a palm tree on the famous Sultana Street in Madinah, following heavy rains in the region today. The palm tree was engulfed by flames by the time the civil defence fire brigade arrived.
A resident documented the incident on video. The fire began gradually in the palm tree, and quickly spread to the surrounding area, endangering the firefighters, before they succeeded in extinguishing the blaze.”
A photograph of a melted traffic light has also appeared alongside the claim about the high temperatures.
Although this image was in fact taken in Kuwait, it was in 2013 and shows a traffic light that reportedly melted as a result of a nearby car fire.
INcontext applies seven ‘hoax verification guidelines’ when evaluating news that may be not be true. Below are examples of the application of some of these guidelines in relation to this particular article:
Point 1: USE YOUR COMMON SENSE
This might sound obvious, but the topic of the ‘end times’ is something close to Christians’ hearts, so we tend to believe anything and everything that could point to the ‘end times’ – don’t believe everything. If the message reveals “extremely important information”, that nobody else is talking about in reputable media and Christian sources, be very sceptical (the key word here is reputable).
Point 2: CRITICALLY ANALYSE THE SOURCE
The problem with all ‘end-time’ prophesies is that they are accepted without critical analysis. If the story doesn’t register on mainstream media or on any ‘hoax-correcting’ pages, take a close look at the webpages on which the story is appearing, and evaluate their credibility.
Point 3: ASK SOME JOURNALISTIC QUESTIONS
Look for the oldest postings of the story that you can find, and ask some questions: Who was the first person reporting this incident? Try to get back to the source, which could then be very revealing as to the motivation.