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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

UAE dodges second wave of storm

Satellite maps show that the storm system has moved westward into Saudi Arabia

The storm system moved westward into Saudi Arabia, missing the UAE, on November 12, 2018. Courtesy National Centre of Meteorology
The storm system moved westward into Saudi Arabia, missing the UAE, on November 12, 2018. Courtesy National Centre of Meteorology

Unsettled weather will continue for the rest of the week but the UAE appears to have dodged a second storm that was due to hit the coast on Monday.

The National Centre of Meteorology had said a storm system over the Arabian Gulf was moving towards the coast and was expected to hit in several waves throughout the day, bringing strong winds and possibly rain, thunder and lightning.

Although heavy rain fell over parts of Dubai and a few isolated areas of Abu Dhabi on Monday, satellite maps show the storm system that lashed Kuwait and caused fatal flash flooding has moved westward into Saudi Arabia.

The bureau said conditions would remain cloudy and windy for the rest of the week with "scattered rain" potentially on its way — but nothing compared to the storm that blew over the country on Sunday night.

Rain will likely fall over the coastal and northern areas of the country, reducing visibility to less than 1 kilometre in areas, forecasters said.

Northwesterly winds are expected to reach speeds of up to 45kph and temperatures will remain cool, ranging between 15°C and 33°C.

Seas will continue to be rough for the next few days, particularly in the Arabian Gulf which may also see "cloud activity".

Sunday's storm dumped eight months' worth of rain — 49.4mm — in just one hour in an area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, forecasters said.

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The weather brought chaos to the country's roads, toppled trees, caused power outages and forced the cancellation of a Dua Lipa concert at Louvre Abu Dhabi to celebrate the museum's first anniversary.

Police in Abu Dhabi responded to the heavy rain and strong wind by sending out an emergency alert to mobile phones, as part of its strategy to help people prepare for unusual weather.

The message warned residents to stay indoors for their own safety.

“The General Command of the Abu Dhabi Police has raised the level of readiness for current weather changes and the length of the rains by intensifying patrols, ambulances, emergency teams and water bodies, in co-ordination with strategic partners through command and public safety and the highest rate of response speed,” it said.

Bad weather has battered the region in recent days.

In Kuwait, the public works minister resigned after a man died on Saturday as he tried to rescue his family from their flooded home after heavy rains.

In Jordan, more than a dozen people died due to flash flooding. On Monday, rescuers found the body of a 5-year-old girl, raising the death toll to 13.

Torrential rains swept the south of the kingdom on Friday, forcing up to 4,000 tourists to flee the desert city of Petra and causing damage to roads, homes and vehicles.

Last month, flash floods in the Dead Sea region of Jordan killed 21 people, most of them children on a school trip, prompting the ministers of tourism and education to resign over failings in the government's response.