x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Storm fells trees and smashes windows

Intense rainstorm floods roads in Al Ain, tearing up trees and smashing windows.

Strong winds broke the windows of the Al Ain International Centre and wreaked havoc on the building's top floor.
Strong winds broke the windows of the Al Ain International Centre and wreaked havoc on the building's top floor.

AL AIN // Strong winds and heavy rain tore up trees and smashed the windows of a cafe in Al Ain yesterday afternoon.

The rain lasted only a short while but caused major flooding in car parks and at roundabouts.

Strong winds broke the windows of a popular shisha cafe at the Al Ain International Centre, near the Zayed Central Library roundabout.

"It all happened in one minute," said Mohamed Omran, the centre's manager. "Everything was normal, then all of a sudden there was very strong wind.

"It actually broke our glass windows and lifted some from their frames. Luckily, no one was hurt."

Mr Omran said the cafe would be open for businesstoday.

Saeed al Kaabi, the head of the emergency department at Al Ain Municipality, said the office had received many calls in a very short time from across Al Ain.

"In Khalifa Street there were fallen trees; in Al Hayer as well, on the way to Dubai from Al Ain," Mr al Kaabi said.

He said there was also flooding on the road between Al Ain and Dubai.

Although it is rare for rain to fall in the UAE in summer, the storms are normal for the area around the Hajar Mountains, said a forecaster at Abu Dhabi's National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, who asked not to be identified.

The storms, he said, were caused by strong easterly and south-easterly winds bringing in moisture from the Gulf of Oman. The clouds and rain form as hot, humid air hits the Hajar mountains.

The rains spread all the way to Manama, near Sharjah. There is a chance of more in parts of Al Ain today.

Amer A, 26, said he and his friends wait all year for the rain for a chance to go dune-bashing.

"The rain turns the sand into hard mud so we can drive on it without getting stuck," he said.

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