Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

Cold snap sees UAE residents reach for coats and sweaters

It was 6°C near Al Ain on Sunday morning - and retailers are already seeing shivering customers looking for layers

A white Christmas may be an impossible dream but a distinct chill in the air left residents reaching for sweaters and coats on Sunday.

Lows of 6°C in Raknah near Al Ain and a chilly morning breeze in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was enough to have families layering up - even if it was mid-20s by lunchtime.

Cool mornings and cold nights are set to continue in the coming days and shops have already seen an increase in demand.

“The weather started to get cold after sunset and now the children need new jackets and warm sweaters, their old ones won't fit them any more,” said Moza Al Ali, a 41-year-old Emirati mother-of-four who was shopping at Al Naeem City Centre in Ras Al Khaimah.

We’ve had a lot of tourists asking for extra clothes this week. They have escaped the bad weather elsewhere but only come here with summer clothes

Ahmed, Debenhams

“If I want to buy something for myself I would choose some soft wool or cashmere sweater or top that I can wear under the abaya if going to sit outdoors during the cold night.”

Many retailers had two-for-one offers on winter wear as traders hope to seize on a moment of opportunity.

“We’ve had a lot of tourists asking for extra clothes this week,” said Ahmed, who works in Debenhams in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates.

“I think they have escaped the bad weather elsewhere but only come here with summer clothes.

“The people I’ve spoken with were not expecting it to be so cool in Dubai, but it’s not usual.”

Thick, padded gilets were proving a popular choice in the mall's Centrepoint outlet, with shoppers keen to capitalise on 50 per cent discounts.

“I only went to work in a shirt this morning and it was pretty chilly, so wanted to get an extra layer in my lunch break,” said Omar, who works in Barsha.

Cold nights are not unusual across the UAE during winter, but temperatures remained locked in single figures in the north and internal areas for early morning.

Shops told The National they have seen a spike in sales during December, due to changeable weather and a series of downpours.

Ahmed Qadoura, an IT worker from Syria, said weekend desert trips have been particularly cold in recent weeks.

“I bought one jacket and two sweaters to stay warm while camping with my friends in the desert,” he said.

“Many shops have sales promotions on at the right time as the weather started to be seriously cold during the night and not just in the desert, so a t-shirt isn’t enough.”

Cities will continue to be slightly warmer overnight this week, with temperatures in the 15°C to 22°C, the National Centre of Meteorology forecast.

While snow is rare in the emirates, higher ground does sometimes see a flurry of the white stuff.

It is 10 years since any significant snowfall was seen in the country.

In January 2009, thick snow blanketed the Jebel Jais mountain range in Ras Al Khaimah at about 5,700 feet above sea level.

Temperatures plummeted to -3C, some of the coldest on record in the UAE, as snow spread across more than five kilometres.

Light winds will keep the mercury down on Monday before it warms up through to Christmas Day on Wednesday.

Updated: December 30, 2019 03:56 AM

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