Fresh storms are expected to blast the UAE on Monday — a day after a deluge of rain, extreme winds and lightning prompted police to issue an emergency alert.
Extreme weather conditions brought chaos to roads, caused power cuts and led to a high-profile concert being called off.
Heavy rain lashed the capital as gusty winds broke tree branches, peeled roofs off garages, and blew sand and debris from construction sites into the streets.
A stormy Sunday dumped eight months' worth of rain — 49.4mm — in just one hour in an area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, according to forecasters.
The E11 Abu Dhabi-Dubai commute last night:
Police in Abu Dhabi responded by sending out an emergency alert to mobile phones warning residents to stay indoors for their own safety.
A storm system currently over the Arabian Gulf is now moving towards the coast, according to forecasters. It is expected to hit in several waves over the course of Monday, bringing strong winds and possibly rain, thunder and lightning.
The first wave could hit within a couple of hours, said a forecaster with the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).
“There is a big storm now over the Arabian Gulf over the sea, over Das Island,” said the NCM forecaster.
“The clouds will be coming in waves from the west to Abu Dhabi, moving over some parts of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.”
The forecaster said it was the same weather system that has lashed Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, resulting in flash flooding.
“The main trough is over the north of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well. But some cloud is moving from the west of Saudi Arabia towards the UAE. It is moving gradually from the west to the north of the UAE."
Yesterday's storm caused the cancellation of the Dua Lipa concert to celebrate Louvre Abu Dhabi's first birthday.
It swept over the UAE quickly, moving from Abu Dhabi to the far east of the country in less than four hours.
Videos shared on social media show the impact of the storm, including one in which the Burj Khalifa can no longer be seen due to the heavy rain.
Abu Dhabi Police sent out an emergency alert as the storm swept in, as part of its strategy to help people prepare for unusual weather, according to a post on the force’s Facebook page.
“The General Command of the Abu Dhabi Police has raised the level of readiness for current weather changes and the length of the rains by intensifying patrols, ambulances, emergency teams and water bodies, in co-ordination with strategic partners through command and public safety and the highest rate of response speed,” said the message.
Lightning in Al Reef, Abu Dhabi
Thousands of people across the city received the alert, which was written in both Arabic and English, warning people to stay indoors. It was accompanied by an alarm sound, according to discussions on social media.
“I thought my mobile was going to explode,” wrote one member of the Abu Dhabi Q&A Facebook page. “I did and my husband did too. It made a strange alarm sound as well,” wrote another.
However, not everyone received the text. According to the Facebook discussion, du customers did not appear to receive it.
But one member of the group said they received the message on a phone they weren’t even using. “One of my phones without a SIM also received [the] warning message,” wrote the member.
A post on the AD Police HQ Facebook page said the message was sent out to smartphones.
Residents have taken to social media to thank police for issuing the weather warning.