Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 February 2020

Storms transform UAE desert into temporary 'oasis'

A video, shared by the Storm Centre, shows pools of rainwater in Al Ain - where the heaviest rain fell during the recent three-day deluge

A storm that caused widespread flooding across the UAE's cities last week appears to have turned one of the country's deserts into a temporary oasis.

In a video, shared by the Storm Centre on Twitter on Sunday, lakes of pooled rainwater can be seen between the towering sand dunes of Al Ain's desert.

The video appears to have been captured by a drone, though it is not known when the footage was shot.

Large pools of water can be seen settled between the desert's red-hued sand dunes, which is normally among the hottest, and driest, places on the planet.

The area around Al Ain city, part of Abu Dhabi emirate, recorded the most rainfall across the country during the three-day deluge.

In total, 193mm of rain fell at Khatam Al Shaklah, near Al Ain, from January 9 to 12 – which equated to almost three times’ Al Ain’s average rainfall in just four days.

The video echoed images released by Nasa in 2018 that showed the effect of tropical cyclone Mekunu on the Empty Quarter - after the storm dumped several years’ worth of rain on the desert, creating temporary lakes between the dunes.

The Empty Quarter, also known as the Rub Al Khali, is the largest single sand mass in the world. It spans 650,000 square kilometers, taking in a third of the Arabian Peninsula, including the UAE – an area larger than France.

The Nasa images were taken of the eastern part of the desert in Saudi Arabia, near the border with Oman. The area usually receives just three centimetres of rain each year.

Updated: January 21, 2020 09:36 AM

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