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The State of Kuwait – Kuwait Area, Geography , Wildlife and Climate

The State of Kuwait

Area, Geography, & Climate Kuwait is located in the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bounded on the north and west by Iraq, on the south by Saudi Arabia and on the east by the Arabian Gulf. The coastline is 290 kilometers (181 miles) long and the total land area is about 7,780 square miles, slightly smaller than New Jersey. Kuwait’s territorial waters cover an area approximately 2,200 square miles. The country is a sandy, riverless desert interspersed with small hills. Vegetation is sparse. Physically the land is mainly flat desert, the highest point being Muttla Ridge, which runs along the north coast of Kuwait Bay. There are nine islands off the Kuwait coast, but only Failaka Island is inhabited.

Kuwait has a desert climate typical of the region, which indicates wide temperature ranges, little rainfall, and dust storms from March through August. Summer (April-October) temperatures often exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather is hot, especially in July and August when shade temperatures can reach 110°-115°. Periods of high humidity occur, but during the hottest months (June, July, and August), humidity levels range from 45 to 50%. Humidity is generally low in comparison with the rest of the Gulf.

From November to April the days will be warm, averaging from 55°-70°F, with cooler evening temperatures. During winter (December and January), clear, sunny days are common but the temperature can fall to the frost point at night, and warm clothing is necessary. The annual rainfall of approximately 5 inches usually occurs at this time. The hottest areas of the country are in Kuwait City and within the vicinity of the airport. Ahmadi and Failaka Island enjoy cooler weather due to sea breezes.

Greater Kuwait City extends 15 miles along the Bay of Kuwait and a similar distance down the coast of the Arabian Gulf, where a succession of smaller towns comprise a growing metropolitan area where most Kuwaitis live. It is the most important city in the State of Kuwait. The old city outgrew its mud walls with the advent of the country’s oil prosperity in the late 1950’s, though a few gates have been preserved as historical monuments. The city has continued to expand along the coast, and new suburban communities have grown up adjacent to it. In contrast to the flat, arid countryside are ever changing colors of the sea and green areas of trees, flowers, and grass in the city and the older suburbs.

Kuwait is a stopping point for migrating birds because of its position at the top of the Arabian Gulf. In the spring and autumn, birds such as the Cormorant, Tern, Wagtail, and even the greater Flamingo have been seen on the wadis and mud flats. Unfortunately the few remaining birds that do nest on Bubiyan and Kubbar Islands are being wiped out by poaching and vandalism. Several reptiles inhabit the desert. Monitor lizards are perhaps the most impressive, some reaching more than a meter in length. The poisonous Boigine Viper and the shiny “Sand Fish” skink are also to be found.

The most notorious desert dweller is the scorpion, but being nocturnal creatures they are not often seen. The long-legged Camel-spider and the fastdigging Dung Beetle also make the desert their home. The desert fox, gerbils and desert hares are mammals that have successfully adapted to desert life and may be seen in Kuwait. Of course, you may also see a camel or two. During the winter rainfalls plants from Geranium, Pea, Daisy and Plantain families can be found. Vegetation is more apparent in the North where the proximity of high ridge of land and the sea produces catchment areas of water. In some wadis the Oleander shrub is seen and the presence of the Milkweed plant is often an indication of an underground water source.

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