The Middle East is groaning under a leaden heat these days. Record temperatures have already been recorded in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. In Baghdad, the mercury rose to a scorching 51.8 degrees Celsius for the very first time on Tuesday.
That is almost a full degree higher than the previous record, which was dated July 30, 2015, and was at 51 degrees Celsius. The mercury also passed smoothly on Monday and Wednesday, with temperatures of 50.5 and 51.1 degrees Celsius, respectively. The mercury would not go down until Friday.
Most residents try to stay indoors or cool down in the shade. However, the country’s power grid is increasingly failing, causing problems with refrigerators, air conditioners, and fans. Protests against the poor electricity supply broke out earlier this week, killing two people.
Lebanon is also suffering from the heat. Weather expert Maximiliano Herrera reports in The Washington Post that a national record was also broken there on Tuesday, in a place about 50 kilometers from Beirut. The temperature rose to an unprecedented 45.4 degrees Celsius.
Like Iraq, the country has problems with electricity supply. Residents receive electricity less than three hours a day due to the crisis. The price of generators has doubled in the meantime, making it no longer affordable for many.
Saudi Arabia and Syria have also already set record temperatures. The Syrian capital Damascus registered the highest temperature ever on Wednesday, with 46 degrees Celsius.
For comparison, the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth is 56.7 degrees Celsius, according to official figures from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That record was measured on July 10, 1913, in Furnace Creek, California. That place is located in Death Valley National Park, the hottest spot in the Western Hemisphere.
The heat in the Middle East is said to be caused by a wedge of high pressure above the area. It floats west, across the Red Sea, to Egypt.