SOURCE: Washington Post

DATE: July 29, 2020

SNIP: Record high temperatures have been plaguing the Middle East, the mercury soaring to extreme levels during a blistering and unforgiving heat wave. Baghdad surged to its highest temperature ever recorded Tuesday.

Tuesday’s preliminary high of 125.2 degrees (51.8 Celsius) in Iraq’s capital city shatters its previous record of 123.8 degrees set on July 30, 2015, for any day of the year.

On Wednesday, Baghdad followed up with a temperature of 124 degrees, its second-highest temperature on record. On Monday, it had reached 123 degrees.

The crippling heat forced many residents indoors, and street sellers had to seek whatever shade they could find. With the state electricity grid failing, many households were relying on generators to power fridges, fans or air-conditioning units, the machines adding a guttural hum to the city’s already-noisy streets.

Two protesters were shot dead by security forces Monday during demonstrations over a lack of electricity and basic services amid the heat wave.

In nearby Lebanon, where a nationwide electricity crisis has left much of the country with less than three hours of state-provided power per day, the cost of a generator had doubled, leaving many households to go without.

[O]n Wednesday, Damascus, Syria’s capital city, tied its hottest temperature on record, hitting 114.8 degrees (46 Celsius).

More near-record temperatures in the 120s are likely Thursday in and around Baghdad before a slight moderation Friday. Highs to round out the week into the weekend should fall back into the upper 110s.