Monday, August 11, 2003

BAGHDAD - An oft-repeated bit of local wisdom replaces the weather forecast this time of year in Iraq:

The first 10 days of August melt doorknobs, the saying goes. The second 10 days brown the dates on palm trees. The third 10 days, finally, open the door to winter.

''Well, that third 10 days needs to hurry up and come,'' said U.S. Army Sgt. Frederick Wilson, his face shiny with sweat at a checkpoint in Baghdad on Sunday. ``It seemed like on the first of August, someone hit a switch.''

Temperatures rose to a scorching 135 degrees across Iraq last week, causing a U.S. soldier's death Saturday and sending dozens more to seek emergency treatment for dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, military officials said.

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