Abu Dhabi // The turbulent weather that caused yesterday's hot-air balloon accident which claimed two lives also made itself felt across the rest of the country, leading officials to call for caution on the roads, sea and air. Forecasters said strong winds and rain were likely to continue through the week, with a high chance of fog in the early hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. "This happens every year around the same time where we go through turbulent weather, marking the transition from the winter season to the summer season," said an official at the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology.
So far, only limited rain has been measured, with 1.8mm reported yesterday in Ghuwaifat in Al Gharbia. However, winds reached more than 65km per hour in some areas. "We can expect temperatures to drop by four to six degrees [Celsius] over the next two days," said the official, describing the turbulent condition as a "final farewell to the cooler seasons". Cloudy weather and drizzle are expected to continue across coastal areas, particularly in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Meanwhile, more windy weather is expected to hit the interior areas of the country, like Al Ain, Khazna, Al Khitam and Madinat Zayed, bringing with it sand and dust storms. Since Saturday night, visibility has dropped to 1,200 metres and was likely to fall below 1,000 metres. Tomorrow is likely to be humid, leading to early fog on Tuesday and especially Wednesday. "It is difficult to predict weather around this time, as it will be erratic all over," said the official. "People should be more cautious on the road and should be avoiding going out into the sea."
Waves of up to 2.7 metres have been reported offshore, and were expected to reach 3.4 metres tonight before receding tomorrow. "Flights should be OK, as long as visibility is not below 200 metres," said the official. "We are not expecting anything that extreme, but people should be cautious nonetheless for the next two days, until about Thursday, when the weather should start to settle down." Flights were operating normally from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but officials warned of "high turbulence".