Cities across the Middle East are experiencing blistering 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 topped a scorching 122F (50C) every day.
Meanwhile, 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 the country which is already struggling with a national electricity shortage prompted by low fuel supplies and an economic crisis.
In Damascus, Syria, records were also broken when temperatures hit 114.8F (46C) on Wednesday.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Men cool off under outdoor showers as temperatures rise to almost 125F (52C) earlier this week
BEIRUT, LEBANON: This was the scene as residents basked in sweltering temperatures of up to 114.8F (46C) in parts of the country this week
KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT: A man walks past al-Qurain Martyr’s Museum earlier this week as blistering temperatures reached 129.2F (54C)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA: Temperatures hit 114.8F (46C) on Wednesday as a heatwave moved in across the Middle East
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 temperatures yesterday reached 127.4F (53C) in Amarah in Iraq, just shy of its national record of maximum temperature of 129F (53.9C).
In Dubai today temperatures have reached a cooler yet still sweltering 111.2 F (44C) while earlier this week, the region of Al Jouf in Saudi Arabia recorded a blistering 118F (47.7C).
And temperatures in Kuwait reached highs of 123.8F (51C) last Friday. And 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 the Kuwaiti city of Salmiyah.
It is expected that the heatwave will continue, and will move to Egypt by next week.
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.
A heatwave is setting records in the Middle East including in Kuwait and Lebanon. The excessive heat is caused by high pressure anchored over the region, drifting west over the Red Sea toward Egypt
A labourer carries a block of ice at a factory in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra amid sweltering temperatures
An Iraqi man cools off under a public shower at a street in central Baghdad, earlier this week
An Iraqi street vendor sells cold water bottles during a sweltering hot day at the Al-Khilani square in central Baghdad earlier this week
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.