Authorities in Makkah ordered schools to remain closed on Wednesday after heavy rain battered parts of Saudi Arabia, with videos shared on social media showing pilgrims taking refuge from a heavy thunderstorm overnight.
“Heavy rain fell on Tuesday evening, accompanied by thunderstorms, in separate parts of the neighbourhoods of Makkah Al Mukarramah,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Education officials said schools would be closed on Wednesday owing to the unstable weather.
The National Centre of Meteorology said it expected a “continuation of moderate to heavy thunderstorms that will lead to torrential rains, accompanied by showers of hail and active winds that stir dust and sand, limiting horizontal visibility in parts of the regions of Jazan, Asir, Al Baha, Makkah and Madinah”.
Videos shared on social media showed pilgrims struggling to circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque amid strong winds, with some having to dodge separation barriers that were blown around.
One widely shared video captured a lightning strike on the famous clock tower that overlooks the Kaaba.
Other videos showed heavy flooding caused by rain in Jeddah, south of Makkah.
Last year, wet weather caused flooding in Makkah and washed away cars in the city.