Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Dubai lashed by heavy rain and high winds as storms sweep through UAE

Videos posted to social media show surging floodwaters and overflowing wadis

Dubai was lashed by heavy rain and strong winds on Monday afternoon as extreme weather, which has gripped the Northern Emirates for days, took hold across the country.

Drivers were forced to contend with low visibility and hazardous road conditions as pools of water formed on highways throughout the emirate.

A major clean-up operation was launched in Dubai's Discovery Gardens as residents waded through flooded streets. Workers turned out to pump water from congested roads.

Meanwhile, Mall of the Emirates was temporarily evacuated due to an apparent power cut, though it is not clear if heavy rain outside was a factor.

There was no escape from the extreme weather, even for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan posted a video of himself navigating his way through the rain while out driving.

The short video – captioned 'rain, rain' – was viewed by more than 100,000 of his followers within 20 minutes of it being uploaded to his Instagram account.

In Business Bay, gusts of wind were so fierce that sheets of plastic were ripped from roofs and sent hurtling into the air.

The climate even put a dampener on a cricket match between the UAE and Bermuda.

Rain-stopped play – while a familiar refrain at the home of the sport in the United Kingdom – is not so common in the usually sun-baked UAE.

But the covers were needed as the match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium was delayed by soggy weather.

Police in Abu Dhabi urged drivers to exercise caution on Monday as bright sunshine gave way to gloomy skies.

Torrential rain has lashed parts of the Northern Emirates for a fourth successive day.

Videos posted online show people hailing the downpours as water raged through roads and wadis overflowed.

The extreme weather began on Friday, with northern parts most severely affected, and the NCM said conditions could persist until 8pm on Monday.

More than 53 millimetres of water fell at Fujairah Port on Saturday, while at least 48mm was recorded at the airport.

Gauges in Khor Fakkan, Masafi and Dhadnah also recorded double-digit rainfall, with the amount of water stored in the UAE’s dams during the last two days amounting to 6.7 million cubic metres.

The NCM has also has conducted eight cloud-seeding operations since Friday. Planes are sent to shoot salt flares – which naturally attract water – into clouds in the hope it will enhance rainfall.

Roads were flooded in Al Quoz on Monday afternoon.
Roads were flooded in Al Quoz on Monday afternoon.

More rain lashed the airport, Dibba and other parts of the Northern Emirates early on Monday.

Authorities urged people not to venture into wadis during times of heavy rain, which can easily be flooded in seconds.

It rained in some parts of the UAE on Monday. Antonie Robertson / The National
It rained in some parts of the UAE on Monday. Antonie Robertson / The National

The UAE's highest peak, Jebel Jais, was not spared.

The NCM also said winds of up to 45 kilometres per hour could whip up dust clouds and lead to rough conditions in the Sea of Oman.

Forecasters say the unstable conditions are typical for this time of year as the country transitions into winter.

"Some days are stable but some are bad. It is unpredictable and low-pressure systems can sweep in from both the east and from the west,” said an NCM forecaster.

Updated: October 8, 2019 10:26 AM

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