People in country's north warned to stay out of water

Three ships dropped anchor on beaches in the Northern Emirates due to the rough weather.

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SHARJAH // Beachgoers and fishermen in the Northern Emirates are being urged to keep out of the water until the rough weather passes.

Officials at the Sharjah meteorological office said north-west winds with speeds between 22 and 27 knots were sweeping the country, raising dust and reducing visibility.

Conditions at sea are rough and unsuitable for swimming or fishing. Three ships dropped anchor on beaches in the Northern Emirates due to the poor conditions. The vessels, in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Qaiwain, did not report any casualties, a coastguard spokesman said.

An official from the meteorological office said the weather should settle after Wednesday.

The public should take the warnings seriously, said Captain Rashid Yousif bin Sandal, director of Sharjah Police's aid and rescue unit.

"At present, most people have paid heed to the warnings and some seas are almost abandoned," he said. "We have not had many calls of sea-related emergencies last week, like we always have in such times."

A Sharjah Police spokesman said the operations room did not record any drownings over the weekend.

In Umm Al Qaiwain, the UAQ Fishermens' Association urged all fishermen not to go to sea until conditions had cleared. Hassan Al Hajri, president of the association, said: "We have already notified the coastguard to stop any fishermen going to sea as the weather forecasts have shown that strong winds will be sweeping the sea for the next five days."

Coastguards will lift the ban on fishing when the association notifies them of calm weather.

Seif Obaid, a fisherman, said: "I always check the condition of the sea before going. Thanks to the internet and television our times are good.

"Before, our fathers had to go to sea and establish if the weather was fine for work or not."