UAE drivers abandon waterlogged vehicles amid floods and record rainfall

Many had no choice but to leave their cars on flooded roads and walk following the heavy rain in Dubai

An abandoned car is partly submerged on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
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UAE weather live: Emirates hit by severe storms

Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road is no stranger to heavy traffic but usually motorists do not have to navigate several feet of water as well.

However, due to the excessive rainfall that engulfed most of the country on Tuesday, many drivers had no choice but to abandon their waterlogged vehicles and take their chances on foot.

Traffic remained at a standstill on Wednesday due to the treacherous weather that left the city and other parts of the country reeling.

The UAE was hit by more rain this week than it would expect to receive over more than a year, official figures revealed.

“I tried to get to work very early today but there was just too much water on the roads and the driver refused to move,” said Joseph Kimani, a mall retail sales worker, who was travelling in a bus provided by his employer.

“Vans and cars are parked on the side with people sitting inside for many hours.

“I decided to walk. Hopefully I will reach by evening.”

Traffic was at a standstill across many sections particularly near the Al Manara exit and Umm Suqeim areas.

Drivers kept to a single file in the fast lane to avoid cars stalling in the water that blanketed both sides of the motorway.

The extent of the water logging forced many motorists to make a U-turn weaving past incoming traffic seeking to reach the nearest exit.

Authorities removed the central barricade in several areas to allow cars through to the opposite side of the motorway.

In a sight rarely seen on the motorway, several men and women walked inside the median which divides the north and south stretch of the motorway.

Others said they had walked for long distances in knee-deep water.

With many vehicles breaking down in the extreme weather, they had little choice but to walk.

People gathered outside metro stations on Sheikh Zayed Road desperately trying to find a ride.

Stuck for hours

Some were on the roads for hours on Wednesday.

A Dubai resident spent five hours on Al Khail Road on Tuesday night trying to drop relatives to Dubai International Airport.

“The street lights and traffic lights were not working and there is only so much you can see with the headlights,” said the woman, who would only give her name as Mourvi.

“In 22 years that I’ve lived in Dubai, this is the first time I have seen the roads flooding like this.

“I was praying the water would not come into the car or we would be stranded like others.”

However, that was exactly what happened, leaving her and her sister-in-law, who was driving, no choice but to abandon the vehicle.

“She asked someone on the road for a lift to the airport but when they got there, the road to the airport was blocked and people were not allowed in,” she said.

Her family had no choice but to change their plans and went to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday where they flew out from to India.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 6:32 AM