x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Fog, high seas prompt warnings to avoid swimming

Temperatures will drop and wind will pick up, with fog reducing visibility on the roads to about 200 metres.

DUBAI // Fishermen and swimmers have been urged to stay on dry land for the next two days as strong winds whip up 3.6metre waves.

Drivers were also advised to be extra cautious as fog is expected across much of the country today and tomorrow, with visibility reduced to 200 metres.

"Over Sunday and Monday the seas will be rough to very rough," said a meteorologist at the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology in Abu Dhabi.

"This is why we are warning fishermen not to head out to sea because waves will be as high as 12feet."

The rougher sea conditions are being caused by a strong northwesterly winds coming into the central and western parts of the country from the Mena region.

"It will be about 20 knots over the sea and this is what will cause the higher waves," the meteorologist said.

The unsettled weather is normal for this time of year as wind speed and temperatures fluctuate, he said.

"The fog will start from the early morning and stay for a few hours especially in the coastal areas. However, as the day progresses the fog will disappear and visibility will be back to normal."

The high winds could also cause dust storms.

"The temperature will also drop by between 8°C and 10°C so it will feel cooler over the next couple of days," the meteorologist said.

Bigger waves are normally a huge attraction for surfers, but the inexperienced should take care.

"Twelve-foot high waves are too dangerous for most people, I think," said David Thomas, from the UK, who occasionally surfs in Dubai. "To be honest, I wouldn't risk it with conditions like that.

"It would be very easy to get into trouble in the water and when it's that choppy you can become disorientated pretty quickly."

Some residents said they would head for the beaches in any event.

"I normally go to the beach at JBR in the morning for a swim and a run before I head into work," said Thomas Weston, a Canadian.

"I see people in the water even when there are warnings about rough seas, so unless it's really bad I think people will be out there again over the next few days as well.

"I'm a reasonably good swimmer but when the waves are rough it doesn't matter how good you are.

"There have been a few deaths with riptides over the past year or so and people are a lot more cautious about getting into the water.

"But sometimes even when warning flags are out I still see some people going into the water."

He called for better signage at public beaches and more lifeguards on duty to make sure warnings are enforced.




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