Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

Chance of hail and even frost later this week, UAE forecasters warn

An unstable weather system is expected to sweep over the country on Thursday evening

Heavy rain, hailstones and even frost is forecast for some parts of the UAE this weekend.

Forecasters said the unusual weather would sweep in as part of an “unstable system” that is expected to form from Thursday evening.

Initially developing to the west of the UAE, the front will move eastwards towards the mountainous northern emirates, eventually spreading across much of the country by the weekend.

In a video posted on Twitter by the National Centre of Meteorology, forecaster Amna Al Zaabi said the unstable spell was expected to last until Monday.

She said it would result in “different intensities of rainfall, fresh winds, poor horizontal visibility, rough seas and probably some frost formation".

“The weather is expected to intensify and will gradually extend over most areas of the country on Friday and Saturday," she said.

“Different intensities of rainfall are expected. There is a chance of hail, as well as lightning and thunder at times.”

Winds will be fresh to strong, blowing dust over exposed areas and resulting in poor visibility at times, she said. Clouds are likely to decrease gradually by Saturday evening.

“We are also expecting a decrease in temperatures, especially over the mountain highlands [of the northern emirates] and a probability of frost formation," Ms Al Zaabi said.

“We urge drivers to be cautious and follow the traffic rules."

Hailstones and frost are highly unusual for the UAE but are not unknown on high ground. On Wednesday, the temperature dipped to 2.7°C in areas of Ras Al Khaimah.

In 2017, snow fell on Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah twice - in January and again in December - prompting a flood of social media posts about the unusual weather.

Weekend temperatures in Abu Dhabi will reach highs of 21°C to 23°C, but could dip to 19°C on Sunday. Temperatures will be similar in Dubai.

The weather system will weaken on Sunday and Monday, leaving cloudy to partly cloudy skies and a chance of rain over coastal, northern and eastern areas.

It is not unusual to see unstable weather in the UAE at this time of year.

In December, flights at Dubai International Airport were delayed due to waterlogging after heavy rain.

Last week, the speed limit was reduced on Sheikh Zayed Road due to dense fog, with visibility at 100 metres in some areas.

Updated: January 8, 2020 12:45 PM

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