x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

UAE weather: rain and sandstorms to affect visibility on roads

Winds as high as 55kph hitting the coast as chance of rain increases across the country.

Low visibility due to dust and sand being picked up by the fresher air will make driving conditions potentially hazardous, according to weather forecasters. Fatima Al Marzooqi/The National
Low visibility due to dust and sand being picked up by the fresher air will make driving conditions potentially hazardous, according to weather forecasters. Fatima Al Marzooqi/The National

DUBAI // The unsettled weather that has gripped the country over the past few weeks is expected to continue to at least Thursday, the weather bureau has warned.

Motorists and fishermen have been warned that strong winds on Wednesday will result in poor visibility on the roads and rough seas off the UAE.

Coastal areas can expect winds of up to 55kph while inland they will reach 35kph, strong enough for forecasters to warn motorists of poor visibility on the roads and fishermen of rough seas.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) in Abu Dhabi said there was also a chance of rain in parts of the country on Wednesday morning.

Wet weather coupled with low visibility caused by dust and sand being picked up by the fresher air will make driving conditions potentially hazardous.

“It is normal at this time of year but people should be cautious,” said the forecaster. “Visibility will be poor in inland areas as the winds kick up dust and sand into the air.”

On Tuesday, Al Ain and Jebel Hafeet experienced blustery conditions that resulted in debris being scattered across roads and pavements.

The high winds are also expected to significantly reduce daytime temperatures, with cloud cover and fresher air also present.

Hussein Al Hajri, president of the UAQ Fishermen’s Association, said a ban on going to sea during the bad weather was already in place.

The coastguard and police were monitoring the seas to stop anyone from going out, he said.

“The association has already informed its members through notices and word of mouth not to go to sea until the rough waters stabilise,” Mr Al Hajri said.

“Members are also advised to listen to the radio and check with the office for the state of the sea in the coming days before planning any fishing.”

Others, however, are looking forward to the rougher conditions, with surfers expected to take to the waves in numbers.

“For us, it is fantastic as we don’t get big waves that often in Dubai,” said Daniel van Dooren, from Surf Dubai. “I think many surfers will be there from about 7am until the sun goes down.”

However, the rougher conditions will mean that surf lessons are not likely to take place.

“The key thing is safety and we wouldn’t be taking people out into the water for lessons if the sea is too rough,” Mr Van Dooren added.

“Although it’s good for surfers, I would urge caution for normal beachgoers who are not strong swimmers, as they could get into a bit of trouble.”

Rip currents were a particular concern, especially at Jumeirah beach near the Burj Al Arab.

“What has happened is that, due to the construction on the right side, the beach has become a mini bay,” said Mr Van Dooren.

This means the water does not break as normal and instead results in a strong current flowing back out to sea, he said.

“Rip currents are in areas where there are no waves and the water seems calmer, which is why swimmers often go to those areas,” he said.

“The water in these areas tends to be deeper and also murkier. It’s easy for a swimmer to get dragged under and then be swept out to sea.

“If there are surfers in the water then they will help people out if they spot someone in trouble.”

nhanif@thenational.ae

* Additional reporting from Yasin Kakande