Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Heavy rain warning and instructions issued by Ministry of Interior

UAE ministry issues warning to residents in the event of heavy rain

Huge mouths of rain water run through Wadi Shawka in Ras Al Khaimah in November last year. The Ministry of Interior has warned people to stay away from such areas when it rains because of flash flooding risks. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Huge mouths of rain water run through Wadi Shawka in Ras Al Khaimah in November last year. The Ministry of Interior has warned people to stay away from such areas when it rains because of flash flooding risks. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The Ministry of Interior has released a video calling on Emiratis and residents living in rural areas of the country to stay away from places that could become treacherous during heavy rain.

The one-minute video advises people not to risk their lives by crossing valley streams, lest they be swept away by flash flooding or crushed by rocks from mountains that may come loose under heavy rain.

On Sunday, concrete sections of an old six-storey residential building in Ras Al Khaimah broke off in chunks, prompting an evacuation, after it rained.

Flash flooding in valleys can cause cars to be swept away and has proven fatal in the UAE. In 2017, an Indian man, 18, drowned after the car he was travelling in was swept away by flooding in Wadi Chees, Fujairah. His body was found a week later in Madha Dam Oman.

The ministry also called on motorists to drive carefully on roads and bridges that may flood or overflow. It said the rain and flowing water could wear away roads or cause them to become slippery.

Parents were also advised not to leave children unattended near ponds that may swell during the rain.

A downpour is expected to continue across the country for the next two days, with a chance of thunder in some areas.

Winds will turn strong in the evening and pick up to 50kph in the Arabian Gulf, forecasters said.

On Sunday, a sandstorm that swept across the country prompted a weather warning from an air quality app, endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s environment agency.

Describing the air quality in the capital on Sunday morning as an "Airpocalypse", the rating then dropped to "extreme pollution".

Updated: March 18, 2019 11:48 AM

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