Heavy rainfall continued to wreak havoc across the country today as at least four people were killed in road accidents. Steady drizzle and intermittent downpours throughout the day have brought flooding to many of the roads in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while a thick blanket of black cloud cover has drastically reduced visibility. Two people died in a pile-up on the Dubai-Sharjah Road this morning while two more were killed and three critically injured in a collision on Emirates Road this afternoon.
In Abu Dhabi the director of traffic police, Col Hamad al Shamsi, said while most accidents were simple crashes due to heavy rain disturbing motorist's vision, around half a dozen had resulted in death and major injuries. "The flooded roads caused some cars to pile up," said Col al Shamsi. "As a result those who were not very careful got involved in minor crashes."
Abu Dhabi Police were not able to provide an exact figures for the number of accidents and casualties but said the major collisions happened on exterior roads off the island.
Police closed Al Mafraq bridge for a short period and diverted traffic to a different route due to pools of water gathering on the bridge. A deep puddle covered all lanes of Sheikh Zayed Road near Shahama, snarling the morning commute.
Brig Mohammad Saif al Zafien, director of the General Traffic Department of Dubai Police, said: "All drivers should drive at low speeds and be more cautious on the streets.
"Speed limits allow up to 120kph but under such conditions drivers should reduce their speeds significantly and exercise caution on the roads."
Brig al Zafien was unable to say if the poor conditions had so far caused more road traffic accidents than usual. Police in Ras al Khaimah also reported 86 accidents.
A spokesman for Etihad Airways said the rain had caused no flight delays and no delay in passengers checking in.
Mohammed al Abry, director of the Meteorological Department at The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, said there were chances of continuous rain over the following days, and that these chances were heightened at night.
A spokesperson for the Dubai Meteorological Office at the Dubai International Airport said today has been the wettest for the Emirate all week, with more than 18mm of rain falling by mid-afternoon.
Since record keeping began in 1967, the most precipitation dumped on Dubai in one day was 73 millimetres. At one point, Dubai saw 130 millimetres of rain during the month of December.