Dense fog blanketed Abu Dhabi and Dubai Saturday morning reducing visibility to less than 100 metres and delaying flights for a second day.
An advisory issued by the National Center for Meteorology said the hazardous fog conditions are expected to be in effect until about 10:30am.
Anticipating the bad weather, the Abu Dhabi Airport issued a statement late Friday warning passengers that flights could be affected this morning.
The airport said it was “witnessing heavy fog that is anticipated to continue throughout the night and to the early morning of Saturday 23 December. Therefore, departing and arriving flight schedules might be affected.”
Travellers were advised to contact their airlines before heading to the airport.
Etihad Airways released a statement saying poor weather conditions meant flight delays and cancellations were ongoing.
"The airline continues to monitor the weather conditions and has contingency plans in place should there be any further disruption to its flight schedule," the statement said.
"The safety of our guests and crew is of utmost importance to us, and we regret any inconvenience caused."
Historical data on the flight-tracking application FlightRadar24 showed that most flights departing from Abu Dhabi since Friday night were delayed by at least two hours. Some, like Etihad Airways flight EY250 to Kozhikode, were as much as six hours late to depart. EY250 was supposed to depart at 10:15pm, but didn’t get off the ground until 4:20am, according to FlightRadar24. The Etihad Airways flight EY315 to Riyadh was delayed by five hours when it finally took off this morning at 7:02am.
A number of travellers vented their frustrations on social media about their delayed or cancelled flights. Many said updates from the airlines were few and far between.
“Stuck in Abu Dhabi airport,” tweeted Sarah Watts. “Staff have no idea what to do with people who are going to Brisbane. Flight was cancelled hours ago. What’s going on @EtihadAirways ???”
In Dubai, police cautioned drivers to leave a safe distance between vehicles as fog covered major arteries. No accidents had been reported by Dubai or Abu Dhabi police as to 8am Saturday.
A chance of mist or fog formation is expected to continue overnight, as the relative humidity will increase into the early morning.
Daytime highs across most of the country will reach between 23 C and 28 C today with light to moderate winds. In the mountains, temperatures will peak between 14 C and 20 C.