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Fans in the rain at The Sevens stadium, Dubai on the 30th November 2012. Jake Badger for The National
Fans in the rain at The Sevens stadium, Dubai on the 30th November 2012. Jake Badger for The National
Two workers clean a flooded street at the Dubai Marina. Jaime Puebla/The National Newspaper
Two workers clean a flooded street at the Dubai Marina.  Jaime Puebla/The National Newspaper
Cars slowly make their way through areas of flooding in the Mirdif area of Dubai after a downpour early Friday morning. Razan Alzayani/The National
Cars slowly make their way through areas of flooding in the Mirdif area of Dubai after a downpour early Friday morning. Razan Alzayani/The National
Fans in the rain at The Sevens stadium, Dubai on the 30th November 2012. Jake Badger for The National
Fans in the rain at The Sevens stadium, Dubai on the 30th November 2012. Jake Badger for The National
A woman jogs along Marina Walk in the early morning despite the falling rain in Dubai. Sarah Dea/The National
A woman jogs along Marina Walk in the early morning despite the falling rain in Dubai. Sarah Dea/The National

Rainstorms across UAE expected to continue through weekend

Rain caused flooding on Dubai roads, was cause for celebration in Ras Al Khaimah and had no affect on the capital's National Day festivities.

Rainfall across the UAE disrupted traffic, flooded shops and caused event delays yesterday.

The unpredictable weather will continue into today, with a spokesman for the Centre for Meteorology and Seismology forecasting the chance of clouds and showers.

In Dubai, cars were partially immersed on flooded roads in Karama and Bur Dubai, as motorists struggled to get to their destinations.

"There is a lot of water like we've never seen before," said Chaitanya Sravanthi, a resident of Bur Dubai.

"It's really flooded in areas such as Mankhool as there is no flow of water. There are traffic jams on some roads."

Mrs Sravanthi said the inconvenience did not bother her as rain was a rare sight in the country. "It is nice to see so much rain after such a long period."

Another resident of Bur Dubai said the roads in her area were filled with water.

"Many car tyres were under water in our building," said Betsy Sumesh. "There were traffic jams near Burjuman and police were controlling the area."

Several areas including Rashidiya, Mirdif and Garhoud were also affected by the standing water. At least 10 cars had broken down before the Garhoud bridge towards Dubai, causing traffic backlogs.

A Dubai Police spokesman said there were no accidents but several jams throughout the city.

AAA Roadside Assistance said it had received several distress calls from motorists, who had been stranded on waterlogged roads.

"We've been receiving continuous service requests," said a spokesman at the company. "We received over 80 service requests than usual days from people in Dubai and Sharjah.

"The complaints were largely related to their vehicles stuck in water or water entering their cars and smoke coming from the bonnets.

"We expect to be busy for the next two days since there is not much facility for the water to drain."

Complaints of stranded cars came from mainly from Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Ras Al Khor and Garhoud.

But some of the worst affected by the rain were shops, restaurants and cafes inside malls including Ibn Battuta, Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre.

Many experienced leaks from ceilings and some shops temporarily closed or lost power.

Sections of Debenhams at the Ibn Battuta Mall had been cordoned off as workers vacuumed the floors and did repairs, while shops such as Swarovski had to close for a couple of hours in the morning to mop water from their floors.

River Island, a clothing store, lost its power supply because of the rain and had to place buckets below waterlogged ceilings.

Sections of the false ceiling in some shops had caved in after becoming waterlogged.

A worker at another shop, which had to temporarily close, said: "We do good sales during the weekends. Now with National Day coming up, we could face some losses."

The restaurant area and several shops in Dubai Mall had also seen some flooding.

But not everyone was disappointed by the surprise storms.

National Day celebrations started early in Ras Al Khaimah with light showers yesterday morning.

As the first drops hit the ground, families bundled themselves into 4x4s to cruise around the city and beep their horns in celebration of the rain.

Young men made the the most of hardened sand by trying to dune bash on the relatively flat Ma’aridh beach.

At the Rugby Sevens in Dubai, downpours did not deter spectators who happily weathered the rainfall.

"The rains – no problems at all," said Jim Gordon, a Briton. "It's classic. Brilliant day.

"If it was a working day, we might have faced traffic issues coming here, but nothing today. The rains will only make the rugby more exciting, so we are looking forward to it."

The weather should not dampen National Day festivities, the Centre for Meteorology and Seismology said, and activities on the capital’s Corniche will continue as scheduled.

* with additional reporting by Zaineb Al Hassani, Anna Zacharias and Ahmed Rizvi

pkannan@thenational.ae

     

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