Iraqi weather service warns of brutal heat wave next week

Iraq's weather service is warning temperatures will increase next week, with the highs expected to reach 51 degrees Celsius, about 124 degrees Fahrenheit.

The country typically faces brutal heat in the summers and endemic electricity outages make life even harder for Iraqis when temperatures soar. Those who can, escape to cooler spots in some neighboring countries, while those who can't afford a trip abroad stay indoors or go swimming in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

In some public places, showers have been set up for those who want to cool down, and some street vendors and taxi drivers keep wet handkerchiefs on their heads.

Chief weather forecaster Haider Habib says Thursday's temperature hit 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 Fahrenheit, in southern Iraq. Basra and Maysan were hottest cities in July.