x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Weather delays Al Ain air show, police warn motorists

Police all over the UAE issue warnings as sand storms hit causing poor visibility and high winds.

The driver of this sedan died in an accident on Al Khail Road, Dubai, yesterday.
The driver of this sedan died in an accident on Al Khail Road, Dubai, yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Today's opening of the Al Ain Aerobatic Show has been postponed because of dusty weather conditions.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the UAE Armed Forces, joint organisers of the annual event at Al Ain International Airport, were confident on Monday that the weather would improve and that the show would open today.

Visibility was down to one kilometre in some areas yesterday, due to brisk south-easterly winds blowing up sand and dust from the Empty Quarter and across the UAE.

In the western region, temperatures reached 31.5°C yesterday and visibility plummeted to less than 200 metres.

As a result, organisers say the show will now be on for only three days instead of four. It will open tomorrow at noon and end on Saturday evening.

This year's show is scheduled to feature more than 15 aerobatic and display teams from three continents.

Although the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology has warned that the wind is likely to persist for several more days, it is expected to change direction tomorrow to become a north-westerly gust, bringing an increased chance of rain.

Temperatures are expected to fall to a maximum of 20°C to 24°C over the weekend.

Abu Dhabi Police have taken the precautionary measure of increasing patrols on highways, especially in areas where sand is piling up, to warn the people to be careful. They also added 40 patrols to the existing 25 on highways outside the city, while 15 are patrolling inside the city around the clock.

"There is no need to add to them, because the problems are mainly on the highways," explained Brig Gen Hussein al Harithi, the director of Abu Dhabi traffic police and patrols. Traffic Police have also contacted the Department of Transport and the municipality to assign special teams to clean the dust off the roads.

No serious accidents were reported in the capital as a result of recent dust clouds. Brig Gen al Harithi said: "There was only one accident but it was not due to the storms."

In Dubai, no traffic accidents were directly attributed to the weather, although an Omani man was killed yesterday on Al Khail road after his careered off the road and crashed into a lorry at 6.17am.

In an another accident, the driver and a passenger of a vehicle suffered moderate injuries after their car veered off the road and hit a road barrier at 9am on Emirates Road towards Sharjah.

newsdesk@thenational.ae