Heavy rains disrupt flights in Jeddah, with thunderstorms forecast across Saudi Arabia

Authorities issue weather warnings for several regions across Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia raised the rain alert level in Jeddah to a warning late on Thursday evening, amid heavy downpours.

The weather warning remained active until Friday morning.

A spokesman for the Saudi National Centre of Meteorology posted on Twitter that Jeddah's Basateen district recorded the highest level of rainfall at 54.2mm, followed by King Abdulaziz International Airport at 48mm.

Flights at the airport were delayed on Thursday due to the weather and some areas in the city were waterlogged.

Rainy conditions in several regions of Saudi Arabia are excepted continue until Tuesday, the NCM said.

Rain alerts have been issued for many cities in the Makkah region including Jeddah, Rabigh, and Taif.

During Friday prayers, authorities in Makkah allocated safe gathering points for people to temporarily park vehicles, amid the downpours. They urged residents to keep track of conditions through the NCM's platforms.

The NCM also raised the alert level to a warning for Makkah on Friday afternoon, with thunderstorms expected to continue until Saturday.

Rain was also expected in Riyadh, Al Qassim and Al Bahah.

In Jeddah, airport authorities asked travellers to communicate with airlines, to receive the new flight schedules.

The NCM said more thunderstorms and heavy rains were expected in Jeddah accompanied by winds and hail.

There will be high waves at sea and reduced visibility.

The crisis and disaster management centre in Makkah urged residents not to leave their homes after the NCM issued the warning.

Photo: Mariam Nihal / The National

“People must take care and not approach the sites where rainwater accumulates to ensure their safety,” the Centre warned.

The Jeddah Municipality said preparations were in place to deal with any emergencies caused by the rain.

On Thursday night, Jeddah residents received alerts on their mobile phones, urging them to follow civil defence instructions and stay away from areas where water may accumulate.

Authorities said they were working round the clock warn people about the heavy rain and urge them not to leave their homes except in emergencies.

Hussein Al Qahtani, the spokesman of the NCM, said: “The rainy situation is accompanied by torrents, hail, active wind, dust, low visibility and rising waves on the coastal cities.”

Updated: December 30, 2022, 2:56 PM