Motorists and pedestrians get to grips with the flooding on a street behind Sharjah City Centre. Antonie Robertson / The National
Motorists and pedestrians get to grips with the flooding on a street behind Sharjah City Centre. Antonie Robertson / The National

More rain expected to hit UAE over next two days



ABU DHABI // More rain is likely to hit some coastal areas of the country on Saturday, particularly in the Northern Emirates.

Heavy rain swept into Dubai and the north of the country on Friday. Abu Dhabi experienced moderate showers early in the morning, at about 4am, but it ceased by 6am, said the duty forecaster at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

There were no serious road incidents in Abu Dhabi as a result of the weather, according to state news agency Wam, but in Dubai a driver fell asleep at the wheel and caused a five-car pileup.

He was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.

Motorists are advised to take extra care when driving in rain or when conditions are wet.

“The prevailing conditions will increase the risk of being involved in a collision, as the road surface has much less grip and visibility for the driver can be seriously reduced,” said Dino Kalivas, the director of training at Emirates Driving Company in Abu Dhabi.

“Drivers may also find themselves distracted by the weather conditions.”

Abu Dhabi Police sent out a series of tweets on Friday urging the public to avoid valleys and areas where water gathers.

One tweet read: “For your safety ... take caution when driving in poor weather condition”.

Another at 2pm stated: “Heavy rain hits Sharjah and Ajman and light rain in Ras Al Khaimah. Motorists are urged to be cautious.”

Despite the rain, temperatures on Friday were as high as 26°C on the coast and 28°C inland.

On Saturday and Sunday, it will be cloudy, particularly in the northern, eastern and coastal areas, with a chance of rain.

The crash in Dubai happened when the driver of a Chevrolet Corvette fell asleep and steered left into a wall, hitting a car on Sheikh Zayed Road in Jebel Ali at 7am.

The accident caused a five-car pileup, with one vehicle catching fire. The driver was able to escape unhurt, said Lt Imran Abdullah, of Dubai Traffic Police, although the Corvette driver was taken to Rashid Hospital with serious injuries.

On Twitter, Dubai Police wrote: “For reporting reckless drivers, please call ‘We are all police’ service on 800 4253.”

Maj Mohsen Al Menhali, head of the highway traffic section at Abu Dhabi Police, urged motorists to be cautious, abide by the speed limit and leave a safe distance between cars.

Traffic police in Al Ain handed out pamphlets and brochures advising motorists on driving safely during unstable and foggy weather.

Heavy rain also lashed the Northern Emirates. In Sharjah, the street behind Sharjah City Centre mall was flooded, with vehicles unable to get through. Water on some streets was about 60 centimetres deep and traffic in many areas moved at a snail’s pace.

The Abu Dhabi Science Festival at du Forum on Yas Island resumed on Friday after being cancelled on Thursday.

Global Village also reopened, with its regular weekend hours of 4pm to 1am.

“Global Village welcomes all its visitors back to celebrate the weekend and join the fun,” it said in a statement.

rruiz@thenational.ae

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

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