Thunderstorms and torrential rain soak parts of UAE

Residents shared videos and pictures as the wet weather caused serious flooding

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The UAE was battered by heavy rain, hail and strong winds on Wednesday as a major storm engulfed much of the country.

Authorities warned residents to avoid driving where possible as some emirates experienced serious flooding on roads.

Dark clouds formed over Abu Dhabi by Wednesday afternoon, with visibility severely reduced.

Stretches of water formed on key highways in Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah, causing hazardous conditions for commuters.

In Umm Al Quwain, fierce gusts of wind forced some motorists to pull over onto the hard shoulder and heavy rain led to traffic queues.

In Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority said several public transport schedules had been disrupted, including the city’s ferry and bus services.

A lightening strike in Umm Al Quwain. Courtesy Storm Centre UAE

In a tweet on Tuesday night, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the private school regulator in Dubai, said it was up to the individual schools to decide if they remained open.

However, by Wednesday morning, the majority of schools across the Emirates announced they would close for the day following advice from the Ministry of Education.

“In this weather, please let’s use our common sense," said a tweet from KHDA. "We want everyone to stay safe, and we trust principals and parents to decide what’s best for their own schools & families. Good night guys, sleep well."

As loud thunder echoed across parts of the country, residents shared videos of heavy downpours and rising floodwater.

“If anyone says we don't get weather in the UAE, I give you this storm: #RainsHaveCome,” one Twitter user wrote in a video post showing dramatic lightening.

Some roads were left flooded by downpours. Leslie Pableo / The National

Another resident wrote: “Only people that live in the UAE get happy when there’s a storm.”

The UAE Storm Centre also posted images of dramatic fork lightning across a backdrop of a brooding skies in Umm Al Quwain.

According to the UAE's Storm Centre, 40mm of rain fell in Umm Al Quwain on Wednesday while the rest of the northern emirates were also hit.

In April this year, storms caused widespread flooding in Al Ghalilah village in Ras Al Khaimah, damaging a cemetery.

Meanwhile in early October, flash floods also hit parts of the emirate after a sudden storm.

Videos posted online showed wadis overflowing and surges of water coursing through valleys.