Saudis enjoy rain in cool highlands as desert temperatures soar

Government puts measures in place in Makkah to ensure worshippers stay safe and dry as torrential rain lashes region

Photographing the low-lying clouds over the mountains of Asir in Saudi Arabia. SPA
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More rain and strong winds are forecast in south-western parts of Saudi Arabia, including Asir, Jazan, Najran, Baha, Makkah and coastal parts of Jeddah.

Residents shared pictures and videos on social media of families rejoicing in the rain as many Saudis continue to travel to the highlands of Abha to escape the soaring summer temperatures in the kingdom's desert regions.

One onlooker in the Makkah region also shared a video of water streaming off a bridge as cars splashed through the standing water.

Many locals shared mountain-top footage of people enjoying picnics in the rugged terrain overlooking Abha city, under cloudy skies.

People also shared pictures of themselves walking "among clouds" on the seven-kilometre Fog Walkway overlooking the Tihama mountains enjoying the rainy and foggy weather.

The National Centre of Meteorology began the second phase of its cloud-seeding programme in the south-western regions of Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

Hikers look on as clouds roll through the mountains of the Asir region. SPA

“This is in addition to the operation of the first phase of the programme in the airspaces of Riyadh, Qassim and Hail regions,” Dr Ayman Ghulam, chief executive of NCM and general supervisor of the cloud-seeding programme said.

"The NCM is looking forward to increasing rainfall in the targeted areas to contribute to achieving the goals of national initiatives related to rain and increasing the water level and thus producing a positive impact on the agricultural and tourism sectors in the kingdom," he said.

The cloud-seeding programme aims to contribute to sustainable development, preservation of the environment and searching for ways to develop resources — all goals outlined at the Green Middle East Summit announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year.

Abdulrahman Al Fadhli, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and chairman of the NCM board of directors, launched the first phase of the cloud-seeding programme in April this year.

Residents in Makkah on Tuesday evening rejoiced as rain fell on the city.

Rain in Al Baha region of Saudi Arabia. SPA

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques launched the "Umbrella of Mu'tamer" initiative, to help visitors to the mosque stay safe and perform their rituals with ease when it rains.

The presidency will provide umbrellas and services that help visitors to perform their rituals. More than 200 supervisors and 4,000 workers are prepared to deal with the rains at the mosque.

Other efforts include distributing water-pumping equipment inside and outside the Grand Mosque to help speed up the drying process to avoid pilgrims slipping and possibly injuring themselves.

NCM on Tuesday denied rumours that temperatures on Thursday will drop in most regions of Saudi Arabia.

The NCM said that temperatures will remain high in most regions of Saudi Arabia, except for the highlands such as Asir.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 1:26 PM