UAE weather: Traffic chaos as residents wake up to lightning and rain

Heavy rain brought traffic to a standstill in most parts of Dubai, with cars having to manoeuvre through flooded roads.
Motorists heading towards Ibn Battuta Mall negotiating waterlogged streets.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Motorists heading towards Ibn Battuta Mall negotiating waterlogged streets. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Four people died on a slippery Sharjah road as heavy rains swept across the UAE on Thursday.

Three Emiratis and an Omani were in the Toyota Land Cruiser when it lost control and hit a lamp post on Al Madam Road, about 2.15am. Police were called to the scene after a passer-by saw the wreckage.

“Police found four people in the car in severe pain,” said Col Saif Al Zari, police director of the eastern region. “They all succumbed to their wounds on arrival at Al Madam Hospital.”

Killed were the Emirati driver, aged 28; his Emirati passengers, aged 21 and 18; and the Omani, 24.

Col Al Zari said the car was speeding in the wet weather.

In Abu Dhabi, police said the wet weather – and drivers not allowing for it – led to three accidents, mainly through speeding and tail-gating.

“The first one involved four vehicles after Taweelah Bridge towards Abu Dhabi,” said Lt Col Jamal Al Ameri, chief of public relations at Abu Dhabi Police traffic department.

“One was injured and taken to Al Rahba Hospital for treatment.”

There was a two-car accident at Al Maqta Bridge, and the third accident involved four cars on Mussaffah Bridge.

There were no reported injuries from those two accidents but they caused traffic congestion and delays, Lt Col Al Ameri said.

He urged caution when driving in harsh weather conditions.

“Many tend to lose control of their vehicles when they drive in the rain,” Lt Col Al Ameri said.

“Drivers should always focus on the road, keep a safe distance and check their tyres, brakes and the overall condition of their cars before they begin their journey.”

Dubai residents awoke to thunder, lightning and heavy rain, and the prospect of a long, slow drive to work.

The wet conditions brought traffic to a standstill in most parts of the emirate, with cars having to manoeuvre through flooded roads.

Dubai Police posted a tweet cautioning motorists: “Leave enough space between vehicles to avoid road surprises.”

Residents also took to Twitter, to report on road conditions near Discovery Gardens and Ibn Battuta Mall.

“People can use only one exit which is flooded due to #Rain @ discovery gardens,” @samerashour posted.

Another resident tweeted: “Cars swimming across #Gardens #ibnbattuta signal.”

Later yesterday, developer Nakheel explained: “Today’s traffic congestion at Discovery Gardens is the result of a road closure by the Roads and Traffic Authority for safety reasons.

“We continue to liaise with the RTA, impressing upon them the urgent need to address traffic congestion in the area.

“Meanwhile, to help ease the situation, Nakheel has today opened up a temporary route between Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan and the E77, which connects Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Sheikh Zayed Road.”

While the skies were clear in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in the early morning, dark clouds began to form in the capital by mid-morning, with rain in some areas.

Heavy rain had continued to fall in Dubai throughout Wednesday night and many roads were flooded on Thursday.

Municipality water tankers were deployed to pump away the water, especially in the industrial areas.

Sharjah’s Sir Bu Nair Island recorded a maximum rainfall of 11 millimetres, forecasters said.

The wet weather conditions affected some outdoor activities in the capital, with Raha International School postponing its sports day.

But the RAK Half Marathon on Friday will go ahead as scheduled, its sports and media marketing manager Bassil Zahr confirmed.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology forecast Friday’s weather to be fair to hazy at times, with clouds expected to decrease gradually.

Rain is a possibility on Valentine’s Day. Temperatures are likely to remain cool, with highs of between 21°C and 22°C.

Seas will be rough at first, and will become moderate in the Arabian Gulf and in the Oman sea. Officials reiterated cautions and warnings.

Relative humidity will increase during the night and early morning, with a chance of mist and fog forming over the coast and the interior.

rruiz@thenational.ae

ykakande@thenational.ae

Published: February 13, 2014 04:00 AM

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