x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Ain storm cleanup continues

Knocked-down trees, flooded streets remain to be tackled, officials say.

AL AIN // Emergency crews were clearing debris and working to contain floodwaters today after powerful winds and heavy rain caused minor damage throughout the city's central district on Saturday.

Streets were flooded, debris from signs and billboards was scattered and trees were felled by winds that exceeded 40kph.

Emergency crews from the Centre of Waste Management Abu Dhabi's Al Ain division today used cranes to remove the fallen trees as police diverted traffic from flooded areas.

"The storm that hit Al Ain around 5.30pm felled several trees and resulted in the closure of a number of streets in Al Ain," a spokesman for the centre said. "The severe storm resulted in minor damage over a large area.

"Clean-up crews were dispatched immediately after the storm abated and continued working until 1am on Sunday morning, returning after dawn to continue. They have spent all day working together with other government entities to quickly clear roads of debris, especially with the first day of school being Sunday.

"The areas most affected include Al Mutarad, Oud Al Touba, Al Muwaiji, Al Markhaniya, Al Towayyah and Al Qattara districts. We expect that the clean up will be completed by 8pm tonight."

Residents throughout these districts were surprised by the severity of the squall, which came 10 days after another storm battered the city.

"I was taking a nap and was woken by the sound of rushing wind and loud banging," said Mona Sharbeesi, 33, a housewife from Egypt. "When I looked outside, I could see the palm trees bending in the wind, and soon after, the street began to flood. My husband was delayed a little coming home because some streets had been closed."

Some businesses suffered minor to moderate damage, such as the Lulu Hypermarket in the Al Qattara District, which whose facade partially fell. There were no injuries there.

Neither Al Ain Hospital nor Tawam Hospital reported treating any injured and there were no reports of animals being hurt or any damage at the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort.

ealghalib@thenational.ae