By Jerry Ives, July 2, 2040

Wet-bulb temperatures soared to thirty-nine degrees centigrade, from the Red Sea to the Caspian Sea yesterday, an unprecedented weather event and catastrophe for hundreds of millions.

BAGHDAD – Across a wide swath of the Middle East, scorching temperatures of dry-bulb 48C were already damaging harvests, heat stroke and brown-outs. Overnight, everything changed when the humidity rapidly increased from 30C to 39C on the wet-bulb scale, four degrees past the point of theoretical human survival.

Compounding the danger, blackouts spread throughout the region as hundreds of millions sought refuge in the safety of air-con, overwhelming grids and sending people back out into the streets to find shade wherever they could.

Today, hundreds of millions are feared dead across the region, in a disaster that has seemingly decapitated national and regional governments across the Middle East, leaving a power vacuum some experts claim can be exploited by decentralised extremists.

President Lawrence G. Lockwood issued a short statement on Minds, saying, “I’m saddened to hear of the disaster, and hold the entire region in my hopes and prayers.” 

According to sources at the White House, Lockwood and his chief of staff Jeffrey Kehoe convened the joint chiefs in the situation room for much of the day, ultimately deciding against an aid package, with no obvious governing bodies to agree humanitarian relief with and a concern it could be seen as invasion in an area already knocked to its knees. 

China and the European Union likewise said they would be unable to provide support until the political picture became clearer.

Meteorologist Dr Kami Gujrathi told The Washington Guardian that the humidity increase had been unexpected and were so far unexplained. “This is something of a freak event, and at the moment how it happened is very unclear,” he said. 

Dr Gujrathi says it was the humidity that increased suddenly, not the temperature, increasing so much and so rapidly that it caused a phenomenon leaving the human body unable to cool itself through sweat evaporation, usually leading to death within hours as the body overheats.

“The word ‘unprecedented’ has already been used a lot today, after several decades filled with that word,” said Dr Gujrathi. My colleagues are starting to call this the tabkhir, from the Arabic for ‘steaming’. That’s what has happened here. People think of heatwaves as dry, hot head, but it was the water that killed here.”