Storms expected across UAE next week, say forecasters

Heavy rain is predicted to sweep across the Emirates from next Wednesday

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 20, 2019.  
 UAE weather: rainfall and storms arrive at downtown Abu Dhabi.
--  Abu Dhabi residents cross the intersection of Hazza Bin Zayed The First St. and Sultan Bin Zayed The First St. during a rain shower.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA

Heavy showers are expected across the UAE next week, with some forecasters predicting bouts of rain over eight days starting this Saturday.

Weather charts show the country is in line for a deluge late next week, with the BBC forecasting rain for both Abu Dhabi and Dubai from Saturday December 7 to Saturday December 14.

The news will likely be an unwelcome surprise for rugby fans planning on attending the Dubai Sevens this weekend — who may experience some showers.

But heavier rain is expected after the weekend., an online weather tracker, shows a system sweeping in from the north-west, which is predicted to bring strong winds and torrential rain to the whole country by Wednesday.

But the country could see rain from Saturday, according to the Unofficial UAE Weather and Info Facebook group, which has acquired a cult following among residents due to the accuracy of its forecasts.

"At this point, it looks as if Sunday's rainfall may be slightly less than expected but the chances of rain on Saturday (Rugby 7's) have now increased.

“Still, even that can all change but be assured, rain is due,” says a post by Howard Townsend, an admin for the group.

“Two systems, one from the southeast and one travelling down the Gulf are going to combine over (or just offshore in the Gulf) early Sunday morning and then the Shamal winds will be predominant and push the whole mass back across the UAE Southeasterly,” he wrote.

“As I say, these images are subject to change as we get closer and data pulls in tighter. It's going to be interesting in any shape or form.”

If another unsettled period does hit, it will be the third since November, when high winds and rain swept through Abu Dhabi, severely reducing visibility. At the time, Abu Dhabi Police also sent out an emergency alert calling on drivers to be careful due to the hazardous conditions.

A week later, amid predictions of another storm, Abu Dhabi Government Media Office announced the closure of schools across the city for a day.

The UAE’s wet Wednesday, as it was dubbed, did lead to a number of heavy showers, with Ras Ghanadah, not far from Ghantoot on the coast between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, experiencing 54.4mm of rain in one day.

It was similar to the amount that fell during a spectacular storm a year ago, which resulted in almost 50mm of rain falling in just one hour in an area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

However some, who experienced nothing more than a few minutes of drizzly rain, were left disappointed, prompting a series of memes, with people “marking themselves damp” due to the Dubai storm.

Another, featuring a picture of a plastic table with four chairs, one of which had toppled over, was accompanied by the words “The Dubai Storm: We will rebuild”.

Forecasters say November and December often see unsettled weather due to winds sweeping in from Siberia. Cold air pockets in the upper levels of the atmosphere create an increase in cloud, rain and strong winds which can also carry sand and dust.

That combination can result in extreme storms, such as in 2013, when 211.4mm of rain — which is three years’ worth of average rain — fell at Delma Island in just one day.