x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE begins clean-up operations after storms

The weather bureau expects conditions will begin to improve this weekend after heavy downpour created havoc across the UAE earlier this week.

People enjoying a sunny day and warm weather watching jet skiers near flag point on Corniche in Abu Dhabi as skies clear up after the previous day's non-stop rain. Ravindranath K / The National
People enjoying a sunny day and warm weather watching jet skiers near flag point on Corniche in Abu Dhabi as skies clear up after the previous day's non-stop rain. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // The clean up after Wednesday’s heavy rain is well under way, with municipalities across the Emirates busy clearing flood waters from roads and residential neighbourhoods.

The wet weather caused havoc across the UAE with hundreds of road accidents reported.

“We have teams out at the moment and they are in the final stages of the clean-up operation,” said Hassan Mohammed Makki, director of sewage and irrigation network department at Dubai Municipality.

“There weren’t any issues of damage being caused but one of the worst affected places was the Al Quoz industrial area, which we are dealing with and is now sorted.”

In Abu Dhabi, municipality officials said there were well prepared for the weather.

“We are ready for such situations,” said Abdulaziz Zurub, director of health, safety and environment at the municipality.

“From Saturday we started to distribute the teams and we arranged for more than 250 water tankers and also 83 water pumps to be dispatched across Abu Dhabi.

“From our experience in the past we know that certain places are affected worse than others. These areas, for example in Baniyas or Mussafah Industrial area, will be upgraded in the future.

“Water from time to time after the rain will accumulate in these areas but we succeeded in removing it in a safe and professional manner.

“This water can affect the cars and cause accidents with drivers.

“My advice to all drivers is to please take care. We know some people are not taking care of themselves or others, and we urge people to please drive safely in these conditions.”

He said it is essential the public contact the municipality whenever they see a problem by calling 993 or 800 555.

“We need the public to contact us and the awareness of the public is very high now. We received about 93 phone calls from people who had seen problems and this helps us deal with the situation,” said Mr Zurub.

Saeed Ubaid Al Kaabi, head of the emergency office at Al Ain Municipality, said officials stepped up their response as intermittent moderate to heavy rains hit the city at 3am Thursday, resulting in puddles on main and internal roads.

Al Ain Municipality has since increased coordination with its partners, including the Waste Management Centre in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, Al Ain Police, Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Department of Transport and Ain Red Crescent.

Yesterday, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Ruler’s representative in the Eastern Region, toured the areas affected by rainfall in Al Ain, which included several valleys.

The wet and windy weather experienced across the country on is set to clear over the next few days.

The National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology said the unstable conditions improved throughout Thursday, but eastern and northern areas still saw scattered rainfall.

Sufian Farrah, a meteorologist from the NCMS, said the bad weather was not unusual for this time of year.

“Generally in the first transitional period, which starts on March 22, the country usually witnesses unstable weather conditions and a quick change of weather,” he said.

“Stable weather will prevail during the next two days, with fog and mist over scattered parts particularly in coastal regions and there will be a slight rise in temperature. It will be cool during the night especially over inland.

Mr Farrah said that it is important for the public to heed weather warnings. “We informed the public about the expected unstable weather on Wednesday and we would like the public to take their precautions when these warnings come.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae