x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Thunder, lightning and sandstorms: UAE's wild weather

UAE Weather: Skylines disappear, as sandstorms and sweep the country bringing low visibility and a delay in flights, while cracks of thunder and bolts of lightning brings the day to a spectacular finish last night.

Winds of up to 50kph whipped up sand and dust, reducing visibility to 800 metres.
Winds of up to 50kph whipped up sand and dust, reducing visibility to 800 metres.

ABU DHABI // Cracks of thunder and bolts of lightning brought a day of sandstorms and scattered rain to a spectacular finish last night.

Skylines disappeared early in the day as winds of up to 50kph whipped up sand and dust, reducing visibility to 800 metres and requiring the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology to retract its prediction that there would be no sandstorms. By the evening, thunderstorms had swept in.

Many people appeared to have heeded the meteorology centre's warnings and stayed indoors: an expected increase in allergy and asthma cases failed to occur at hospitals.

Later in the day scattered showers fell on Abu Dhabi and the western region before thunderstorms hit the capital.

"The rain will help the sand settle," a weather spokesman said. By noon today rain clouds should have disappeared and visibility improved.

Conditions will get better throughout the day and temperatures will fall to 27°C. "The drop in temperatures will be noticeable," the spokesman said.

Wind speed will remain high, causing rough seas, and people have been urged not to venture out to sea.

The centre said skies would clear by Monday, but mist and fog are expected to return on Tuesday.

osalem@thenational.ae