If you feel like the full force of summer has hit Qatar early this year, you’re not imagining it.
Over the past week, Qatar has been experiencing higher than average temperatures, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department (MET), which forecasts that Doha could see a high of 46C (115F) on Wednesday.
The unusually high maximum temperature – which is four to six degrees higher than would normally be expected at this time of year – is “due to the deepening of the Indian monsoon low over the Arabian Gulf,” the MET said in a statement.
It also advised Qatar residents to stay indoors during the middle of the day this week to avoid too much exposure to direct sunlight. Additionally, northwesterly to northeasterly winds are expected to spur dusty conditions and high seas, piling on extra discomfort.
According to Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist at Al Jazeera English, a sweaty end to May isn’t that unusual. She said Doha hovered around 39 to 42C at this time last year, but temperatures were higher at this time in 2012.
Speaking to Doha News, she added:
“Our temperature depends on our wind direction. It’s currently coming from the northwest, bringing dry air, and dry air heats quicker than humid air, so the temperature can climb higher.”
It remains to be seen whether construction companies will heed the MET’s advice about avoiding outdoor exposure during the midday hours.
Despite May’s high temperatures, Qatar’s mandatory midday work ban does not come into effect until June, which means companies can use their discretion when deciding whether employees should work outside from 11:30am to 3pm.
The middle of the day is also a busy time on Qatar’s roads, as work shifts end and the school day draws to a close, meaning many residents have little choice but to face the heat.
Given this reality, here are a few common sense tips to help you keep your cool as temps rise:
- Drink more, but wisely. Consume water to replenish what your body loses through sweating, but avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol, because they can cause you to lose more body fluids.
- Stick to the buddy system. If you’re going to be outside for a while, make sure you have some company, because the onset of heat-related illnesses can prompt sudden drowsiness.
- Eat small snacks, not big meals. Digesting large or hot meals can can up body temperature. Aim to get some salt or fruit juice in your diet to replenish the minerals lost through excessive sweating. Those on restrictive diets for health reasons should consult their doctors before altering them.
- Don’t leave kids in the car: Never leave infants, children or pets unattended in a parked car, as temperatures can rapidly rise inside the vehicle.
- Check in on the vulnerable: Keep an eye on those who are at a greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness, including the elderly, young children and babies, and those who are obese or with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.
Would you add any advice? Thoughts?