DUBAI // Rainwater entered homes and schools in the Northern Emirates, and flooded roads in Sharjah and Dubai on Tuesday, with municipal workers wading knee-deep to clear drains after heavy overnight showers.
Dubai Police repeated warnings to motorists to keep a safe distance between vehicles, after three people died following Monday’s thunderstorm.
Water pooled at exits on Al Khail and Mohammed bin Zayed roads, with traffic slowing to a crawl in business districts such as Dubai Media City and residential areas such as The Gardens and Discovery Gardens, due to floods at roundabouts.
“Motorists have to take into consideration that their brakes might not be as efficient as when the roads are dry,” said Brig Omar Al Shamsi, deputy director of Dubai Police’s operations department.
“It’s important that people be extra careful on the roads because the roads can be slippery. Rain in our country is a blessing, and it’s not something we should turn into a tragedy.
“We advise people to be cautious, drive at a slower pace, keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, and be patient with congestion. Also, we advise people to stay away from the roads during bad weather conditions.”
More than 750 accidents were reported on Dubai’s roads on Monday, with seven severe accidents in Abu Dhabi.
Hail and thunderstorms hit the north, with floodwater entering homes and schools in Ras Al Khaimah.
Few pupils went to school due to road closures, and buses were unable to do their normal pick-ups, said RAK authorities.
More than 100 requests for assistance were received – mostly from residents – after water swept into their homes, said Ahmed Al Shehhi, head of operations in RAK’s public works department.
Water was drained from areas near RAK Court and the Al Hadaf roundabouts, while work was ongoing in areas such as Al Dhait and residential areas below sea level.
Classrooms and school playgrounds were flooded, and work was under way to clear affected institutions, said Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, director of the RAK Educational Zone.
The weather is likely to improve today, with partly cloudy to fair conditions, moderate to light winds, and a chance of fog at night, according to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.
Tailbacks delayed motorists on Sharjah’s Abdul Aziz Road, Al Dhaid Road and Etihad Road.
“It took me two hours to reach my office. Sharjah Airport Road was heavily congested,” said Ahmed Khan, a sales executive who uses Al Dhaid Road daily to get to Mohammed bin Zayed Road and to reach Dubai office.
“It was really a nightmare.”
Large portions of road in The Gardens area behind Dubai’s Ibn Batuta Mall were flooded, with cars skirting the edges to reach apartment blocks.
“The cars moved very slowly because water was touching the doors,” said Antonio Abreu, a Discovery Gardens resident.
“Every year the flooding causes trouble. A few years ago I walked back in knee-deep water.”
A couple of cars and taxis were forced on to the hard shoulder after water seeped in.
“This flooding happens during every rainfall,” said Fatima Saoud, a resident of The Gardens.
“We need big tankers and pumps to clear this water.”
Some parents kept their children home from school.
“It took me an hour and a half to get from my house to my work in Jumeirah Lakes Towers,” said Farah Zoghbi, a Dubai Marina resident.
“My son and daughter go to a school in the Green Community and we were warned that the kids might be stuck in traffic. I kept my daughter home because she is younger.” Others asked for the morning off work.
“I took the easy route I called my work and told them I wanted to take the morning off,” said YT, from Lebanon.
“It’s safer than driving after all the rain we saw yesterday in Sharjah.”
Five homes in Al Ain were damaged following the hailstorm in the Sweihan and Nahil areas.
The families were given shelter at hotels while police were evaluating the damage, Salem Al Amri, deputy secretary general for local affairs at the Red Crescent Authority, told to The National’s Arabic sister paper Al Ittihad.