UAE fog: Multiple crashes as weather causes major disruption

Flights diverted and police issue safety warning as thick fog covers parts of the country

A thick blanket of fog caused huge disruption in the UAE with flights diverted and a series of crashes reported as drivers were caught up in lengthy tailbacks.

Forecasters warned visibility had dipped to 200m as the fog swept in during the early hours.

A map on the National Centre for Meteorology’s website warned of the chance of hazardous weather affecting a large swathe of the country, from Ras Al Khaimah on the north coast, all the way down to Abu Al Abyad, an island in the Abu Dhabi emirate, south of the capital.

The NCM issued a blanket fog warning for most of the UAE today.
The NCM issued a blanket fog warning for most of the UAE today.

The hazardous weather conditions caused flights to be diverted to Fujairah International Airport.

Four incoming flights to Sharjah International Airport were forced to land in Fujairah between 5:30am and 6:20am on Thursday.

The flights, coming from Tbilisi, Faisalabad, Prague and Cairo, were operated by Air Arabia, according to the flightradar24 website.

In a post on Instagram, Fujairah International airport said that a number of flights were diverted to the airport from some of the country’s airports due to the poor visibility caused by the fog.

While three flights coming from Kiev, Riyadh and London to Dubai International airport were also diverted to Muscat International airport in Oman, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh and Al Maktoum International Airport, in Dubai.

Flightradar24 website estimated that 92 per cent of inbound flights to Dubai International Airport were facing delays of about 45 minutes on Thursday morning.

Abu Dhabi Police advised drivers to be cautious and refrain from taking videos of the adverse weather.

There were multiple accidents on the E11 Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Road near Ghantoot, heading in the direction of Dubai. According to the Waze traffic app, there were at least three crashes, which caused long tailbacks and slowed traffic to less than 30kph. Police were on the scene.

One of the road accidents on the busy route, which took place at about 9am, involved 11 vehicles.

Drivers in Sharjah faced heavy congestion caused due to the low visibility.

One frustrated motorist said his daily 20 minute commute took more than times as long to complete as the foggy weather sparked huge delays.

“It was horrible, my daily 20-minute drive to drop off my son to school in Sharjah's Al Khan area, took 90 minutes today,” said Egyptian Khalid Nofal.

Heavy traffic was also reported in the Muwaileh district of the emirate.

Commuters travelling to Dubai were caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road.

The fog will clear to leave partly cloudy skies, with highs of 30°C on the coast and islands and 32°C inland. Cloud will build over the sea, islands and western areas by the evening, bringing with it a chance of light rain.

Sea conditions will be slight to moderate, becoming rough at night in the Arabian Gulf and slight to moderate in the Sea of Oman.

Temperatures will dip on Friday, and there will be a chance of rain of “different intensities,” say forecasters.

Winds will be strong at times, reaching up to 55kph, resulting in dust and sandstorms, and the sea will be rough to very rough in the Arabian Gulf.

Conditions will be similar on Saturday, with further chance of dust and sandstorms, although it should remain dry. The sea will be rough to moderate in the Arabian Gulf and rough in the Sea of Oman.

Updated: March 14, 2019 04:38 PM


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