More rain expected to hit UAE over next two days

Drivers heeding safety warnings as few serious accidents reported on the roads.

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