Kuwait's record highest temperature climbs to 54 degrees

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A wave of scorching heat in the past few days pushed the highest temperature in the desert state of Kuwait to the record high of 54 degrees Celsius.

The figure was recorded in Matraba, in the north of the oil- rich Gulf emirate, local daily Kuwait Times quoted a meteorologist as reporting Monday.

The report did not specify the date for that record heat, and said the highest figure previously registered was 51.3 degrees in 1998.

Kuwait was hit by an earlier heat this summer that started on June 13, before cooling down by a minor sandstorm four days later. Average temperatures in the past days were still above 40 degrees.

The sizzling heat pulled the country's power consumption to the brink of its peak production capacity for several days in a row, mainly driven by the lavish use of air-conditioners.

Temporary power cuts were reported in some residential areas as transformers broke down under the increased load. Working hours in educational facilities were shortened by one hour and kindergartens were closed.

On Sunday, the country's parliament called a special session to discuss the power worries, which some lawmakers said sprang from the country's slow pace in updating its power grid and building new plants.

Electricity and Water Minister Badr al-Shuraian said in that occasion the country's electricity outrages during long summer months would come to an end next year, when the new Subbiya power station is in operation.

Oil-rich Kuwait has fallen behind from its Gulf neighbors in its electricity production and power cuts occurred in past summers.

The emirate last September decided to build a new power plant as part of the ambition to double its electricity production capacity by 2020.

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