Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 January 2020

UAE weather: heavy rain falls across the country as police issue emergency alert

Weather warning remains in place for parts of the UAE after Tuesday’s red alert

Heavy rainfall sweeping across the country sparked travel woes after airport operations were disrupted and traffic brought to a standstill by crashes and road closures as police issued an emergency alert urging drivers to remain vigilant.

Dubai International Airport warned travellers its services were affected by the deluge.

Travellers faced further frustration after Marrakech Tunnel - on the approach to the airport - was sealed off due to flooding.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said the tunnel had been temporarily closed due to safety concerns.

The authority urged motorists travelling from Airport Road to Marrakech Road to instead use alternative routes.

"Dubai International (DXB) is experiencing operational disruption and water logging in some parts of the facility due to the heavy rains this morning," said a spokesman for the airport.

"The safety and comfort of our passengers is our top priority and Dubai Airports is working with service partners at DXB to normalise operations and minimise inconvenience to our customers. We urge customers to check for updated flight information on our website www.dubaiairports.ae or websites of their respective airlines."

Flights are now largely back on schedule, according to a statement issued by the airport, but motorists were told to embark on their journeys early due to hazardous road conditions.

"All flights from Dubai International (DXB) are now arriving and departing with minimal disruption. However due to significant flooding on the roads around the airport, we urge customers travelling from DXB today to allow for maximum additional time to get to the airport," the spokesman said.

In Sharjah, rain even stopped play as the UAE cricket team prepared to take on Scotland.

Staff were working to dry the affected areas using manual sponge-rollers in a bid to prevent the delayed game being cancelled.

Rain lashed the UAE coast from early on Wednesday morning as the outer bands of a storm approached the country.

Abu Dhabi experienced fierce downpours at around 5am, as satellite images showed the heaviest bands of rain hovering just off the north coast.

The adverse weather conditions caused headaches for commuters on both land and sea.

Marine services were delayed due to rough seas, including the ferry link between Sharjah and Dubai.

Earlier in Abu Dhabi, police issued an emergency alert via text message urging drivers to take care: "Due to climate changes, please take caution while driving on public roads. Safe Trip."

Abu Dhabi Police also warned motorists to take care and avoid taking pictures of the rain while driving, while Dubai Police urged drivers to pull over if visibility was poor.

Traffic was reduced to a crawl on the main highway into Abu Dhabi from Dubai as water collected on the roads, while Dubai Police warned of severe congestion due to accident in Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, before Mirdif Bridge towards Abu Dhabi. Motorists were urged to use alternative routes.

Parts of Dubai and the Northern Emirates were expected to experience the brunt of the storm, with the heaviest rains reaching the coast between 8am and 9am.

Dubai's private schools regulator, announced it was leaving the decision over whether to close early to school principals in a humorous tweet.

And some schools chose to send pupils home early, including Gems Winchester School - Dubai, Gems Our Own Indian School, and Dubai Scholars school, according to reports.

Conditions were expected to be worst in the morning, but forecasters say showers could return in the afternoon.

The National Centre of Meteorology, which issued a red weather alert as rain fell on Tuesday, shared pictures of the rain on its Twitter account.

A mix of orange and yellow alerts remain in coastal areas for Wednesday.

The NCM is also warning of rough seas in the Arabian Gulf

Updated: December 11, 2019 07:16 PM

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