Emirati dies in flash floods as record rainfall lashes UAE

The man's vehicle was swept away during severe downpours in Ras Al Khaimah

Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, March 21, 2013:    Motorists make their way through a flooded round-about during heavy rain south of Al Harma in Ras al-Khaimah on March 21, 2013. Christopher Pike / The National
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UAE weather live: Emirates hit by severe storms

An Emirati man died during flash floods on Tuesday in Ras Al Khaimah amid record levels of rainfall across the UAE.

The citizen, who was in his 70s, was killed when his vehicle was swept away by strong currents during treacherous weather in Ras Al Khaimah.

Police said the man was attempting to travel through a flooded wadi as heavy rain battered the emirate.

Emergency response teams recovered his body.

Dubai airport floods after heavy rain in the UAE

Dubai airport floods after heavy rain in the UAE

The force issued condolences to the man's family and urged members of the public to remain indoors during the hazardous weather.

Record-setting rainfall

The UAE on Tuesday experienced its largest single day of rainfall in 75 years. The heavy rain caused widespread flooding, travel disruption and damage.

The National Centre of Meteorology said the volume of rain on Tuesday was the highest since official records began in 1949.

NCM data, which covered a 24-hour period until 9pm on Tuesday, showed a 254mm of rain fell in one area of Al Ain alone – the equivalent of about two years worth of average rainfall in the UAE.

The NCM said the persistent downpours were an “exceptional event in the UAE's climate history since the start of recording climate data”.

Travel disruption

The adverse weather led to flights being cancelled, delayed and diverted, roads being closed and the disruption of public transport services.

Dubai International Airport said on Wednesday morning a significant number of passengers have missed flights as severe flooding caused widespread travel disruption.

The major travel hub was forced to shut down operations for 25 minutes on Tuesday due to the adverse weather.

Roads leading to the airport remained blocked and flooded after a record day of rainfall in the Emirates.

“Due to road blockages and flooding, we're experiencing a high volume of guests unable to reach #DXB for their departing flights,” the airport said on X.

“We're working continuously to restore normal operations, and have also arranged refreshments for guests currently at the airport, where possible.”

Inbound flights to Dubai International Airport were diverted elsewhere on Tuesday night.

“We are temporarily diverting arriving flights this evening until the weather improves. Departures will continue to operate,” the airport said.

Dubai Airports said 17 flights were cancelled on Tuesday due to the weather.

On Wednesday, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said traffic on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, heading to Sharjah, had been diverted to Dubai-Al Ain Road, leading to Emirates Road.

The authority warned that Dubai Metro services are also facing further disruption.

“Due to the unstable weather and to ensure the sustainability of Dubai Metro operations and services, we would like to inform you that there will be maintenance work at the stations on the Red and Green lines on Wednesday, which will be affecting both the metro timings and stations,' the authority said on X.

“Please note that free shuttle bus services will be provided to metro users at specific stations on the Green and Red lines to ensure your arrival at your destinations.”

More rain but conditions to ease

Adverse conditions are expected to continue into Wednesday morning, with convective clouds that bring rainfall and lightning forming over coastal areas – particularly in the north and east of the country.

These are forecast to disperse by midday on Wednesday.

A yellow alert – warning of further rainfall – remains in place, largely in the Northern Emirates, until 6pm on Wednesday.

Further rain was recorded in the Northern Emirates on Wednesday morning, with the worst downpours in Ras Al Khaimah.

Updated: April 20, 2024, 5:41 AM