UAE weather: heavy rain and high winds pummel Abu Dhabi in wild start to 2022

Heavy rain fell on large sections of the country, stretching from the capital to Fujairah and Al Ain

Latest: Year and a half's rain recorded in three days in the UAE

The UAE awoke in 2022 to a wild start, as high winds and lashing rain swept across the country in the early hours of Saturday.

The heavy showers fell over large parts of the country, stretching from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah and Al Ain, starting before sunrise and lasting well over an hour in some areas.

Around a year's worth of rain - 99.2mm - fell in Saih Al Salam in Dubai, which is home to Al Qudra Lakes, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, in the first eight and a half hours of 2022.

Parts of Abu Dhabi city received up to 22mm, while an area of Dubai received 49.5mm of rain.

During a typical January in the Emirates, about 10 millimetres of rainfall on average. And over the course of an average year, the UAE can see up to 100mm of rain.

Forecasters at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) issued a warning about “rainy convective clouds” over scattered areas in the north, east and on the coast. These were associated with fresh winds, blowing dust and sand, and rough seas.

The alert is in force until 10pm on Saturday.

Weather satellites show large areas of rain, which is heavy in some parts, with lightning. Other areas in the region have been affected, including parts of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

More to come

More rain is expected to sweep in to the UAE from the Arabian Gulf over the coming days, according to a forecaster at NCM.

Another weather system is expected to approach the UAE from the north on Monday and Tuesday.

And it could bring even more rain than the band which swept through the country overnight.

"We expect more rain in the next few days. Especially on Monday to Tuesday," said the forecaster.

That could affect almost the entire country, he said.

"It will be over scattered areas.

"But still we have a good chance of seeing more today and tomorrow over a scattered area because of this trough."

Residents in Abu Dhabi took to social media to comment they had never seen rain like it, as the bad weather triggered apartment fire alarms and scattered garden toys and furniture.

“Never seen anything like that in here … it’s been going on for more than an hour. House is totally flooded, starting to get scary right now,” wrote one member of the Abu Dhabi Q&A Facebook page.

Wild weather is uncommon but not unheard of in the UAE.

In October, parts of the country were hit by Cyclone Shaheen, which was accompanied by winds of up 110 kilometres an hour after it made landfall in Oman.

In January 2020, the UAE also experienced a bout of heavy rain, which swept through the region.

During a typical January in the Emirates, about 10 millimetres of rainfall on average.

Updated: January 3rd 2022, 12:08 PM