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Middle East cities are hit by highest temperatures ever with many seeing temperatures above 122F (50C) every day last week

  • Baghdad, Iraq, recorded its highest temperatures this week at 125F (51.7C)
  • Basra, also in Iraq, hit 127.4F (53C) on Monday and Tuesday
  • Records are also falling in Damascus in Syria, which hit 114.8F (46C) on Wednesday
  • A monitoring station in Houch al-Oumara, in Lebanon recorded 113.72F (45.4C)  on Tuesday, which if confirmed would be a record for Lebanon.

Cities across the Middle East are experiencing heatwaves with record breaking temperatures in the regions.

Baghdad in Iraq, the worst affected country, recorded its highest and second highest temperatures this week, reaching 125F (51.7C) on Tuesday and half a degree cooler on Wednesday. Towns in the south have unusally topped 122F (50C) every day. 

A monitoring station in Houch al-Oumara, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, recorded 113.72F (45.4C) on Tuesday, which if confirmed would be a record for Lebanon which is struggling with a national electricity shortage prompted by low fuel supplies and an economic crisis. Meanwhile, in Damascus, Syria, records broke when temperatures hit 114.8F (46C) on Wednesday.

Iraqi men cool off in outdoor showers in Baghdad as temperatures rise to almost 125F (52C)

Iraqi men cool off in outdoor showers in Baghdad as temperatures rise to almost 125F (52C)

In Basra, Iraq’s southern port city on the Gulf, temperatures have reached 122F (50C) or above every day in the past week, hitting 127.4F (53C) on Monday and Tuesday.

It comes as Iraqis experience a lack of affordable electricity and air conditioning due to war and corruption and many are struggling to keep vital equipment such as refrigerators running, on small, expensive supplementary generators. 

Maximum temperature yesterday reached 127.4F (53C) in Amarah in Iraq, just shy of its national record of maximum temperature of 129F (53.9C). 

And in Dubai today temperatures have reached a cooler yet still sweltering 11.2 F (44C) 

The excessive heat is caused by high pressure anchored over the Middle East, drifting west over the Red Sea toward Egypt. Beneath the “heat dome,” sinking air has warmed to extreme levels, and has prevented cooling cloud cover and shade.

Temperatures this extreme have heated the air up so much that it  has expanded and made air columns grow more than 280 feet taller than average on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, NASA has said that this June was the warmest ever measured, equalling the record set last year. Southern Iran and Iraq have the world’s most consistently high temperatures.

The highest recorded air temperature in the past half century was in Kuwait in 2016, where it reached 129.2F (54C). That would officially be the highest ever recorded but for a reading made in 1913 in Death Valley in California, which is now thought to have been wrong. 

Temperatures in Basra, where a man is pictured carrying a block of ice, have also broken records hitting 53C (127.4F) on Monday and Tuesday

Temperatures in Basra, where a man is pictured carrying a block of ice, have also broken records hitting 53C (127.4F) on Monday and Tuesday

A heatwave is setting records in the Middle East including in Kuwait and Lebanon

A heatwave is setting records in the Middle East including in Kuwait and Lebanon

And temperatures in Kuwait are more or less the same, reaching highs of 123.8F (51C) last Friday. Nearby, on the shores of the Persian Gulf, the combination of desert heat and gulf moisture created a heat index of over 134F (56C) on Monday afternoon in Salmiyah, Kuwait. 

It is expected that the heatwave will continue, and will move to Egypt by next week. 

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