x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Weather: Rain hits parts of Northern Emirates

After a weekend of heavy rain and winds in parts of the country, UAE forecasters say expect more of the same including flash floods and rough conditions at sea.

Rain in Sham and Wadi Ghalilah in RAK caused flooding in mountainous areas. Residents said the last time they saw floods was 1975. Mariam Al Nuaimi / The National
Rain in Sham and Wadi Ghalilah in RAK caused flooding in mountainous areas. Residents said the last time they saw floods was 1975. Mariam Al Nuaimi / The National

ABU DHABI // More temperamental weather is expected this week after bouts of rain and thunder hit some parts of the Northern Emirates.

After a weekend of heavy rain and winds, people living in coastal, northern, eastern and mountainous regions were told to expect more of the same by the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

Rain, high winds and flash floods were a possibility, forecasters said. They also warned of rough conditions at sea.

The centre said the Hajar Mountains experienced heavy rainfall on Sunday, with the Masafi area recording 73.8 millimetres.

Delma Island in the Western Region experienced torrential rain, which filled the streets and mountain valleys with water on Sunday.

Heavy rain and a drop in temperature was also noted in Ras Al Khaimah, reported the state news agency Wam. The rains at Sham and Wadi Ghalilah led to flooding in the mountainous areas.

“In truth, this kind of rain hasn’t fallen this much since 1975,” said Khamees Sulaiman, a palm farmer in Shamil.

“We had rain before but not as much as this rain today. These rains are a blessing. It came in the right season, which is the beginning of winter, which has a positive effect on the soil and agriculture.”

Ten people were rescued by helicopter today after police received a call at about 3.40pm that they were trapped in a wadi in RAK. Flooding alsowashed out roads and water rose as high as car bumpers in some areas.

Although the low-pressure system that has resulted in the rough weather will weaken over the next two days, it is expected to return and be stronger on Wednesday, with thunderstorms expected at the height of the unstable weather this weekend.

But the rain did not dampen people’s moods.

“I think that students should be given a vacation throughout the whole winter season. The UAE isn’t England, we rarely have beautiful weather,” tweeted one resident.

“Beautiful cloudy weather in #UAE,” posted another.

Aircraft have been warned by the centre about turbulence and dust. Those at sea were alerted about winds exceeding 60kph causing rough seas, with waves reaching two metres in the Arabian Gulf.

Police in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have taken to Twitter to caution drivers, asking them to reduce their speed and take care because of strong winds whipping up dust and causing low visibility.

The warnings did not stop people tweeting pictures of wet roads and grey skies.

“Not just rain but more like a storm happening now in Ajman,” said one person. “Awesome rain showers at Sharjah airport!”

“If you live in UAE you have full right to make a big deal out of a few drops of rain,” wrote @farahhhxxx.

Besides also issuing warnings to stay away from valleys which can experience flash floods, the centre also denied online reports that the US navy fleet in Bahrain had sent out warnings of pending hurricanes and typhoons in the Arabian Gulf.

“The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology deny the rumour attributed to the US Navy and what was raised about the existence of hurricanes and floods across the country, which contains a lot of exaggeration,” a spokesman said.

Residents in Sharjah and Ajman also experienced flooding. Geoffrey Lusaggi, who lives in Ajman, said his house and a used car park in his neighbourhood had flooded as a result of the heavy rain.

“Remember when it snowed in Ras al Khaimah? We do” Read more here.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae

* with additional reporting by Mariam Al Nuaimi and Yasin Kakande