x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

UAE sees heavy rain showers

Eastern parts of the country witness heavy to medium rainfall over the weekend as part of another national cloud seeding operation.

ABU DHABI // Eastern parts of the UAE witnessed heavy to medium rainfall over the weekend as part of another national cloud seeding operation. "We want to take advantage of any rain clouds before the wind blows them away as it rarely rains here," said a spokesperson for the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS). On a regular basis, rain clouds gather in the mountainous parts of the country, but it does not necessarily result in rainfall without with "some help" from the national cloud seeding operations operated by the NCMS.

"We can't say we created the rain, the rain clouds are formed naturally. We just give it a little push to actually fall and replenish our water supply," said the spokesperson. Two cloud seeding planes were sent off on Friday to help bring about rain through the release of 60 capsules composed of sodium chloride, calcium chloride or silver iodide around which water droplets are supposed to form and then fall as rainfall. "The conditions have to be right for the cloud seeding to work, as the operation is not always effective," he said. According to a report released by the NCMS, the rain clouds first gathered around the Omani mountains and came down as heavy rains accompanied by lighting and thunder, then the storm extended to Masafi and Al Dhaid, and then moved south towards Shouka and Felli then eastward to Awair and Hebab.

There were also storms in south of Al Ain, Qabel, Wajin, and Al Arad, where the rains measured 2.2mm in Al Faqa, 0.6mm in Al Arad, 0.4mm in Mizyad and 0.2mm in Al-Quo. "The rains helped bring back to life the wadis (valleys) in those area as the wadis were flooded with rain water," said the spokesperson. Last week, another cloud seeding operation took place, leading to more than 4mm of rainfall in the Manama area, helping to top off reservoirs and wadis, and offering a respite from the heat to the southern parts of Hatta, Dhaid, Meleiha, Felli and Madam. The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology has been seeding clouds since 2001. While the practice has come under criticism, it is used world wide.