Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

UAE set for three days of rain - one year on from emergency weather alert

November marks the onset of a higher chance of rainfall across the Emirates

Put your sunglasses to one side and unpack your umbrella ... the UAE looks set for three days of rain as the first throes of winter arrive.

And, as if right on cue, the wet spell comes almost exactly one year after one of the most extreme storms in recent years.

High winds and rain swept through Abu Dhabi on Sunday after midday, severely reducing visibility. Abu Dhabi Police also sent out an emergency alert calling on drivers to be careful due to the conditions.

Thunderstorms also hit areas of Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Sharjah on Saturday night and continued on Sunday morning.

Last week, the National Centre of Meteorology forecast rain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Dubai and on Sunday and Monday in the capital.

The Northern Emirates, which tend to bear the brunt of the rains, are set to be wet across the three days as well.

Temperatures are expected to hover around 34°C while wind speeds will reach up to 38 kilometres per hour.

Earlier, the NCM earlier warned of potential flash floods in the east and north of the country, with "thunder and lightning over different parts of the country".

A ridge of high pressure was approaching from the north west, while an upper air trough of low pressure was set to move in from the north-east.

'Stay indoors, do not go out'

It was November 11, 2018 when the phones of Abu Dhabi residents starting making a loud, buzzing noise.

“I thought my mobile was going to explode,” wrote one member of the Abu Dhabi Q&A Facebook page.

The rain had started early that evening, with strong, gusty winds whipping up sand against a backdrop of flashes of lightning.

Tree branches broke off and debris from construction sites was sent hurtling through the air.

The reason for the buzzing phones was a warning message sent by Abu Dhabi Police, which read: "Due to the bad weather please stay indoors and do not go out."

British pop star Dua Lipa was expected to perform at Louvre Abu Dhabi but the show was cancelled "due to dangerous weather".

Forecasters confirmed that eight months' worth of rain – 49.4 millimetres – fell in just one hour in an area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The storms caused tailbacks between the capital and Dubai, with commuters witnessing dramatic scenes as the road became flooded and the sky lit up with regular flashes.

Last month, the country's east coast was hit by Cyclone Kyarr, the biggest storm in the Arabian Sea in a decade, with schools forced to close and homes flooded.

The storm caused damage at the Miramar resort at the popular area of Al Aqah as the waves destroyed a restaurant and washed away chairs and tables.

A worker at a hotel in Fujairah drowned after he was swept out to sea during the storms.

November weather explained

This month is the second in the transitional period, the NCM said.

Temperatures are usually four to six degrees cooler than during October.

"The country experiences winds coming in from Siberia, especially in the second half of the month, which results in lower temperatures and colder evenings, especially in the mountainous and desert areas," the NCM said.

It also said that cold air pockets in the upper levels of the atmosphere lead to an increase in cloud, rain and strong winds carrying sand and dust.

Humidity levels rise during the mornings, with an average of 85 per cent experienced across the month.

The highest temperature in the UAE for November is 38.8°C, which was recorded in 2009, while the lowest is 4.1°C, which was recorded at Jebel Jais in 2009.

The highest amount of rainfall was recorded at Delma Island in 2013 when 211.4mm of water fell.

The foggiest November was in 2016, when 13 days of heavy fog were recorded, along with six days of light fog.

The highest wind speed was 97km\h in Ruwais in 2013.

Updated: November 10, 2019 01:20 PM

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