DUBAI // Heavy rain and hail lashed Dubai and the Northern Emirates on Wednesday as officials at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology warned the winter weather will last until at least the weekend.
Hail was reported in Malaiha in Sharjah on Wednesday and Rashidiya in Dubai, while rain, thunder and lightning lashed parts of Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Tennis fans took cover from ring-size hailstones as matches at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships were postponed after a downpour.
“We came prepared with umbrellas for rain but not for it to be pouring hailstones,” said tennis enthusiast Ruchi Bhushan.
“It really hurt because it hit us hard as we were taking shelter. It was over in 3-4 minutes. The hailstones bounced off the seats, stairs and broke off when it hit the concrete.”
The 5pm matches have been postponed until 9pm while the courts were mopped dry.
Thick fog caused also problems for early morning commuters on Wednesday, with visibility down to a few feet in places.
The fog and mist affected main highways in parts of Sharjah and Dubai, although police did not report any major accidents despite slow traffic for most of the morning.
“There is fog on external roads from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and traffic jams as everyday on Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed and Emirate Roads from Sharjah to Dubai,” said an officer at the traffic and patrol department at Dubai Police.
Police patrols were sent in Sharjah to help the flow of traffic, said Maj Abdulrahman Khatir, manager of traffic awareness branch at the traffic and patrols department at Sharjah Police.
“The mist is very normal, and the patrol cars are everywhere and there is no car accidents and no delay to work and schools and the traffic movement is as everyday,” he said.
Minor accidents were reported near Jebel Ali on the road from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and on Garhoud Bridge near Zabeel park.
Dubai police tweeted an appeal to motorists to drive carefully.
“We always urge motorists to leave a space between vehicles and not to drive over the speed limit, these are the main causes of accidents and we ask them not to get distracted by mobile phones,” a police spokesman said.
Motorists were also advised to avoid mountain areas, valleys and streams and to take care while driving through flooded areas as water may affect braking distances.
Temperatures are expected to peak at 26°C in the next few days, then drop to 22°C. Rough seas are also predicted and people are advised to stay out of the water.