Mist dispensers freshen up pilgrims at the base of Saudi Arabia's Mount Arafat during the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage on June 15, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Temperatures are expected to surge to over 50 degrees Celsius in late July and early August in Saudi Arabia, a climate expert has warned.

Head of a climate change research centre at the King Abdul Aziz University, Abdul Aziz Al Mazrui, said the heat peak is expected to happen in July and August.

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In a recent heatwave, temperatures soared to 50 degrees Celsius in the shade in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of Dammam, according to an official at the Saudi National Centre for Meteorology (NCM).

The NCM spokesman Hussain Al Qahtani expected further heatwaves in the kingdom with Riyadh and the Eastern Province to be the most affected regions.

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Other weather forecasters said seasonal indications show that a pressure belt, known as Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), is anticipated to push deeper than usual into the Arabian Peninsula specifically between July and August.

Temperatures have recently soared in several areas in Saudi Arabia affected by a hot air mass.

Earlier this month, the kingdom announced shortening the duration of a sermon preceding the Friday noon group prayers in Islam’s two holiest mosques until the end of summer due to extreme heat.

Under a royal directive, the duration of the Friday sermon and prayers is reduced to 15 minutes in the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

Previously the weekly sermon usually lasted 30-to- 45 minutes.

The directive also delays the first call to the Friday prayers, thus reducing the duration between the first adhan and the second for the congregation prayers to 10 minutes.

Saudi authorities have repeatedly advised worshippers to stay hydrated and avoid heat strokes. Recommendations include drinking enough fluids, shunning direct exposure to the sun, using umbrellas and performing prayers in shaded places.