x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Autumn bids windy and wet farewell

Unsettled skies over the UAE and daytime temperatures in the low 20s will set the tone for next week's official start of winter.

High winds and low temperatures are expected across the Emirates this weekend, after rain and hail fell in many areas this week. Meteorologists warned motorists to be cautious and advised fishermen against going to sea because of the high seas associated with such weather. For the second consecutive day, Dubai and Abu Dhabi woke up yesterday to an overcast sky. The overnight low in Abu Dhabi was 15°C, according to the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS). By mid-afternoon yesterday, the temperature had risen to 22°C. Sun appeared in the afternoon, encouraging people to come out to the streets in sweaters and light jackets. But most beaches remained empty for the second day in a row. Staff at the Beach Rotana, Emirates Palace and InterContinental hotels said few people came out. The Hilton Abu Dhabi hotel, which normally does not allow entry to its beach on Thursdays and Fridays to people who are not guests or members of its beach club, opened it to all since so few people were there yesterday. The weather has interfered with some boats and offshore oil platforms. Capt Ahmad Abd el Al and Khulood, the crew vessel he operates, have been docked at Port Zayed since Monday evening because of unstable weather. "Khulood can handle swells of up to four feet," Capt el Al said. "For the past three days we have not been able to leave the port because the swells out at sea have been between five and seven feet. As a result we haven't been able to transport the 31 people we normally transport out to the Umm El Dalakh oil platform. But because work on the oil platform cannot stop, larger ships and helicopters are being used to transport the workers back and forth." Capt el Al said he probably would not go out to sea again until Sunday. "But the weather can change at any time and it's not something the NCMS or I can control." The NCMS has forecast north-westerly winds with speeds from 16 to 22 knots decreasing to 12 to 18 knots by tomorrow morning, with swells of five to seven feet. Generally, partly cloudy conditions are expected with a chance of scattered thundershowers. The NCMS reported that heavy rain fell and thunder was heard in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon. The most rain, 22mm, fell in Ras al Khaimah, followed by Dubai, where 7.8mm fell. ealghalib@thenational.ae