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You Think It's Hot Where You Are?

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And for those of you in parts of the country that are experiencing record heat, I'm here to tell you, it could be worse.

(SOUNDBITE OF LIQUID BOILING)

MONTAGNE: That's the sound of gasoline boiling inside a car's fuel tank in Saudi Arabia, according to Al Arabiya News. In Mitribah, Kuwait, one week ago, the temperature soared to 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Christopher Burt of the website Weather Underground is the author of "Extreme Weather: A Guide & Record Book." He's experienced similar temperatures in Death Valley here in California.

CHRISTOPHER BURT: I actually find it unimaginable how people can stand these temperatures.

MONTAGNE: The World Meteorological Organization will investigate that 129.2-degree temperature and decide if it sets a new heat record for Asia. Christopher Burke personally suspects it might even share a world record.

BURT: A hundred and thirty-four Fahrenheit was observed in Death Valley on July 10, 1913, and that record is now currently the official - the accepted hottest temperature measured on earth. Now, I look back at that record with a little bit of skepticism.

MONTAGNE: Because in 1913, there wasn't even a heat wave. Christopher Burt says a number of higher temperatures were reported decades ago around the planet, but none of them were reliably documented. If that Kuwait record of 129.2 degrees is upheld, he says it would tie with the well-documented highest temperature on another day in Death Valley three years ago.

BURT: The park service was complaining that a lot of people actually were trying to fry eggs (laughter) around the national park. And there were all these eggshells scattered all over the parking lot.

MONTAGNE: Temperatures do start to drop in parts of the U.S. today. And it's a bit cooler in Mitribah, Kuwait, as well, where the high is a mere 117 degrees. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.