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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 July 2018

Four seasons in a day: Hailstones fall in hot and humid Sharjah desert 

Rain, wind, dust, humidity, searing heat – and now hail – the UAE’s crazy summer weather continues

Camels were left bemused by the changeable conditions. Photo NCM
Camels were left bemused by the changeable conditions. Photo NCM

In a country like Scotland you may expect to see four seasons in one day, but the UAE?

After recent period of unstable weather including rain, wind, dust, humidity – and of course the relentless, searing heat – Sharjah experienced something rarely seen in the UAE: hailstones.

The heavy shower of freezing rain, which was accompanied by strong winds, took place on Tuesday in the suburbs of Sharjah amid almost 50°C heat.

The NCMS posted a video of the summer storm – featuring bemused camels – on its Twitter page.

Forecasters said the heavy shower was caused by an intense cloud which formed over the mountains in the east of the country near the Oman border.

“The cloud was very intense. That’s why we had a hail storm,” said a forecaster.

“When the air is moving through the mountains and goes up, it heats up rapidly and when it comes down it creates cloud,” he added.

Hail is formed in clouds high above the ground, where temperatures can be as cold as -59°C or -60°C. And because it takes only about a minute-and-a-half to reach the ground, it does not have a chance to melt - even if the air temperature is 50°C.

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The area of cloud formed in the east near Fujairah and passed over Sharjah, also dumping the hail and rain as it went.

And despite containing the freezing rain, the cloud acted as a blanket, heating the air below, and causing the temperature to reach as high as 51°C near Margham, to the south of Dubai.

Forecasters say there is a chance for further rain clouds developing over the mountains in the east over the coming days, but they do not expect any more hail.

Temperatures are expected to reach up to 46°C on the coast and up to 49°C inland. Humidity could hit 80 per cent.

Summer in the Middle East can be uncomfortable, but the region does not hold the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded. That title belongs to Death Valley in California, where the temperature reached 56.7°C in 1913 at the appropriately-named Furnace Creek.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the UAE is 52.1°C, in July 2002.