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Monday, August 15

The killer heatwave continues in Iraq and other parts of MENA

Washington Post reporter Hugh Naylor, based in Beirut, has been reporting firsthand on the heatwave on Iraq. In his latest report, filed August 14, 9:00 AM EDT, he posts several photos he took to illustrate the impact of the heat, which has rendered Baghdad a virtual ghost town, and how Iraqis are trying to cope. He writes in part:
I spent several days reporting on a record heatwave in Iraq. Baghdad, the capital, has boiled in temperatures at 109 degrees or higher almost every day since June 19. The mercury in the southern city of Basra reached an incredible 129 degrees on July 22.
Keep in mind this isn't a dry heat, of the kind found in Death Valley, where the daytime temperature has been about 115 degrees -- but with humidity of 10 percent and even less. I can remember playing in the desert in Tuscon during my childhood, not thinking anything of  90+ (F) temperatures, but there was virtually no humidity.  

What they've been experiencing in Persian Gulf countries is record high temperatures accompanied by high humidity. Humans aren't built to endure such conditions. I've been sharply reminded of that because of the record/near record temperatures with high humidity that we've been having for days on end in Washington, DC., which have put the heat index as high as 118. These conditions have also afflicted a large swath of the American northeast. But at least we have plenty of water.  And lots of air-conditioning. 

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