Iraqis swim at an irrigation canal on the outskirts of Baghdad during the first “heat holiday” of the year on July 16. (AFP/Getty Images)

Ever wonder what it takes to get a heat advisory in one of the hottest places on Earth? How about temperatures that will soar past 120 degrees, approaching all-time records, for four days in a row.

Such is the heat wave that Iraq is facing this week as high pressure bakes the Middle East, pushing temperatures up to 25 degrees higher than normal for this time of year. Overnight lows will remain above 90 degrees.


The painfully hot 10-day forecast for Baghdad. (Weather Underground)

The heat has led the Iraqi government to declare a 4-day mandatory holiday beginning tomorrow, when the forecast for Baghdad is a scorching 124 degrees Fahrenheit, matching the hottest temperature Baghdad has ever recorded, according to weather records-keeper Maximiliano Herrera.

It’s the second “heat holiday” that’s been declared so far this summer, says Mashable’s Andrew Freedman, “and is due to the combination of high heat and power and water shortages that can cut air conditioning at the hottest times of the day and leave people more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.”

The first holiday of the year was issued earlier this month when highs peaked at 122 degrees.


Forecast high temperatures over the Middle East on Thursday from the European model. (wetaherbell.com)