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Middle East Weather

The basic climate of the Middle East can be characterized in five words: oppressively hot and extremely dry. In fact, with few exceptions, the Arabian Peninsula has some of the hottest and driest conditions found anywhere on the planet.

Summers across the Middle East are very windy, with average temps near 85°F (29°C), but often soaring to way above 100°F (38°C). In Baghdad, the record high to date is 120°F (49°C). In the Saudi deserts temperatures over 125°F (51°C) are quite common.

Along the Mediterranean coast the summers are long and hot and the winters mild and wet. The coastal areas can be humid but this is usually offset by a steady breeze.

Sandstorms when strong winds are common in the desert areas, and great care is needed when traveling in desert areas to avoid sun stroke and heat exhaustion. In the hottest months deserts should be avoided by the independent travelers.

Winter brings some milder conditions to the peninsula with scattered rain. Exceptions in the winter months are the mountains, where desert turns to steppe in northern Iraq, northern Iran and eastern Turkey where conditions get quite cold. In addition, in the high mountains of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan winters conditions are brutal, with heavy snow.

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This page was last modified on September 19, 2016.