These photos have circulated years before Kuwait's extremely hot summer in 2021

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Five photos have been shared thousands of times in Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim they were taken during the hottest day in Kuwait in July 2021, when the temperature reached 73 degrees Celsius. However, the claims are false: all the photos have circulated years before Kuwait's extremely hot summer of 2021. According to the Kuwaiti Meteorological Department, the highest temperature recorded in the country so far in 2021 is 53.5 degrees Celsius, not 73 degrees Celsius.

Five photographs were uploaded on July 10, 2021, in this Facebook post, which has been shared more than 2,000 times.

The post's caption states: “Kuwait experienced its hottest day today, 73 degrees Celsius. See more in the pictures ...”

Screenshot of the misleading post taken on August 9, 2021

The same set of pictures were also posted with a similar claim on Facebook here.

The photos have been shared more than 150,000 times after they appeared alongside a similar claim in other languages, such as in Arabic, Malaysian and Italian on Facebook; and in Turkish and Russian on Twitter.

The pictures circulated after Kuwait recorded extremely high temperatures in June and July 2021, as reported here and here.

However, the claim is false. All the five photos predate the country's extremely hot summer in 2021.

Photo 1: melting cars

A combination of a reverse image search on Google and keyword searches on Facebook found the first photo of the melting cars published in this Facebook post, uploaded by a user who lives in Tucson, in the US state of Arizona, on June 20, 2018.

The post's caption states: "From across the street where the student housing construction project fire happened last night."

Similar photos of the melting car appeared in local news reports about a large fire that engulfed a student housing construction site in Tucson on June 20, 2018, such as here and here.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the first photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine 2018 Facebook photo (R):

Screenshot comparison of the first photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine 2018 photo (R)

Photo 2: egg on a road

A reverse image search on TinEye found the second photo was published in this report by Kuwaiti newspaper Al Watan on June 8, 2014.

The story reported on a photo of an egg-frying experiment on a road in Kuwait that had circulated on social media.

AFP found that the photo was taken near the Kuwait Towers, in Kuwait City, as seen in the Street View of Google Maps.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the second photo in the misleading post (L) and the photo in Al Watan's report (R):

Screenshot comparison of the second photo in the misleading post (L) and the photo in Al Watan's report (R)

Photo 3: melting rubbish bin

A reverse image search on Bing found the third image, which shows a melting rubbish bin, was posted here on the Facebook page of Moroccan news website Chtoukapress on August 21, 2019.

Below is the screenshot comparison of the third photo in the misleading post (L) and the Chtoukapress photo (R):

Screenshot comparison of the third photo in the misleading post (L) and the Chtoukapress photo (R)

Photo 4: melting water tank

A Google reverse image search of the fourth image, which shows a melting water tank, found that it was posted here on the Facebook page of Iraqi news outlet Hilla Street 40 on July 6, 2018.

The picture was also posted on the same day by an Iraqi Twitter user here.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the fourth photo in the misleading post (L) and the Hilla Street 40 photo (R):

Screenshot comparison of the fourth photo in the misleading post (L) and the Hilla Street 40 photo (R)

Photo 5: melting traffic lights

A Google reverse image search of the fifth photo, followed by keyword searches, found the image was published in this report by Kuwaiti online newspaper Sabr on July 1, 2013.

The article is titled: “In the video, Al Eqaila traffic light has melted”.

According to the Sabr report, the viral photo of the melting traffic lights had made people speculate whether it was caused by the extremely hot day or the poor quality of the traffic lights. However, it turned out it was caused by a fire from a burning vehicle nearby.

The building seen behind the melting traffic lights matches the photo of Al Bairaq Mall in Kuwait City.

The Google Maps screenshot shows the distance between the two locations — with photos of the building and the traffic lights on the map added by AFP:

Screenshot of the distance on Google Maps

Photos on location data platform Foursquare here, and street views on Google Maps here and here show different angles of the same mall building.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the fifth photo in the misleading post (L) and the photo in the Sabr report (R):

Screenshot comparison of the fifth photo in the misleading post (L) and the photo in the Sabr report (R)

Highest temperature in Kuwait

Data from the Kuwaiti Meteorological Department shows that the highest temperature ever recorded in Kuwait was 54 degrees Celsius on July 21, 2016, in Mitribah, while the highest temperature recorded in 2021 was 53.5 degrees Celsius on July 1 in Al Jarrah.

Below is a screenshot of the Kuwaiti Meteorological Department's website, taken on August 28, 2021:

Screenshot of the Kuwaiti Metereological Department's website
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