Winds cut power and rain causes flooding

Strong winds gusting at more than 70kph uproot trees in Al Ain and trigger power cuts in parts of the city.

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ABU DHABI // Strong winds gusting at more than 70kph yesterday uprooted trees in Al Ain and triggered power cuts in parts of the city. Rain lashed parts of Abu Dhabi emirate, causing localised flash flooding, while some witnesses reported damage to their properties. Haneef al Raisani, 29, said he had suffered power outages and that about 30 trees around his villa walls in the Zakher area had cracked in half. Satellite antennas also had been ripped off roofs and some roads were flooded after the storm hit about 1.30pm, he said.

"Things were flying around," said Mr al Raisani, founder of the dance music record label, Raisani Records. "It was rain at first for half an hour, then it was thunder, then suddenly this huge... we thought it was a hurricane or something. "The wind was so heavy, the rain was so heavy, the trees just dropped in five minutes," he added. "You couldn't see anything. My neighbour is getting married tonight and the tents flew away. I think they found them a mile away."

The National Center of Meteorology and Seismology said the bad weather had been the result of low pressure surface air mixing with low pressure "upper air" arriving from the south east. Rain clouds had been followed by strong winds and dust storms that had lowered visibility to about 500 metres in some areas. People were warned to be alert again today as there was a chance of more rain, wind and sand.

Arnold Aliparo, 35, from the Philippines, said that billboards were down in the middle of the road in Al Mutarad. "I have been here in Al Ain almost seven years now, but this is the first time I experienced that here," the respirator therapy technician at Tawam Hospital said. "Our driver was having some problems driving because he could not even see because of the rain." Al Ain Raceway said there had been bad rain and wind for "about 10 minutes" but it had not badly affected business.

"Don't get me wrong, we had about 10 minutes of torrential rain and high winds but from what I've seen in the past, we got away with it," said Marty Fullard, operations manager at the raceway. Dust storms also swept into Abu Dhabi island yesterday evening.