Six months' worth of rain falls on UAE in four days

More than 77mm fell in one part of Fujairah at the weekend as a major storm swept through most parts of the country

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About six months' worth of rain fell across the UAE over the weekend after a major storm swept through most parts of the country.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said on Sunday that almost 60mm of rain fell in Dubai, while 78mm – the highest recorded in the country – fell over Khatam Al Shaklah in Abu Dhabi.

In the Fujairah neighbourhood of Al FarFar, 77.4mm of rain fell, while 25.4mm fell in Al Ain, the bureau said.

The UAE's average rainfall is less than 100mm a year.

Our main focus has been rescuing individuals trapped in their homes or vehicles
Brig Sami Al Naqbi, Sharjah Civil Defence

A clean-up operation was under way on Sunday with the situation slowly returning to normal.

Rain was still forecast in the east and south on Sunday but Ncema, the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, confirmed that the severe weather had ended.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority also said roads had been drained to clear the flooding, with its buses now operating normally.

Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority, which regulates the emirate's private schools, said on Sunday that some nurseries, schools and universities will be allowed to introduce remote learning on Monday should damage to buildings from the weather be too severe to fix before pupils return.

Hazardous weather

The storm which started on Friday evening, mainly in Abu Dhabi, spread to all areas of the UAE early on Saturday and caused localised flooding.

Many parts of the country saw significant amounts of rain with events cancelled, flights diverted, wadis and beaches shut and several roads partially flooded.

Police video shows clean-up efforts after heavy rains lash UAE

Police video shows clean-up efforts after heavy rains lash UAE

Motorists also faced delays with some roads closed and traffic reduced on inter-emirate motorways on Saturday such as Mohamed bin Zayed Road (E311) due to the intensity of the downpours.

Dubai Police also reported diversions and water accumulation in Amman Street, Aleppo Street, Al Nahda Street, Al Ittihad Street, Al Khawaneej Street, Al Yalayis Street and Al Qudra Street.

Pictures on social media showed flood damage to villas.

In Kalba, Sudanese resident Adbelbasit Hassan said his home was partially flooded after intense rain fell on Friday night and Saturday evening.

“It rained all night on Friday,” said Mr Hassan, who was previously affected by the floods in 2022. “And water came into my house.”

He said authorities had pumped the floodwater away and it had receded by Sunday so he could stay in his home.

“Now it is OK,” he said. “The water has come down.”

Authorities had put an emergency plan in place to mitigate the effects of the storm. NCEMA outlined preparations at a briefing on Thursday.

In Dubai, emergency response teams of about 2,300 people worked around the clock to manage the situation, the emirate’s media office said.

Videos posted to social media by the National Centre of Meteorology showed downpours with waters coursing through rain-swollen wadis and dams.

Other footage on Storm Centre, a popular channel that tracks the country’s weather, showed torrential rain, hail and flooded roads.

Other videos showed a more picturesque aspect of the rain, such as a flowing waterfall in Ras Al Khaimah’s Wadi Ghalila and the desert of Sharjah turning green.

In Sharjah, emergency response teams of about 400 people used 200 tankers, 180 mobile pumps, 50 water collection basins and 20 towing vehicles during the clean-up operation.

The civil defence teams have also been responding to emergencies.

“Our main focus has been rescuing individuals trapped in their homes or vehicles,” Brig Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, director general of the Sharjah Civil Defence Authority, told The National.

“We successfully evacuated several families in collaboration with the Sharjah Social Services Department.”

On Saturday evening, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road was operating as usual. The emirate's marine transport services were also back to normal.

The latest storm comes about a month after a two-day depression swept across the UAE. Eight years ago to the day, a powerful storm wreaked havoc in parts of the country.

The NCM forecast a chance of rainfall on Sunday for the east and south of the country.

It said temperatures are expected to increase and warned of fog on Monday morning.

Further cloudy weather over islands and coastal areas is forecast later on Monday, with high humidity expected.

The rest of the week is forecast to be more settled.

Updated: March 11, 2024, 10:41 AM