Desert city of Dubai floods as UAE hit by heaviest rainfall in 75 years

SuchTV  |  Apr 17, 2024

Desert city of Dubai floods as UAE hit by heaviest rainfall in 75 years
Heavy rains have hit the United Arab Emirates, flooding major highways and disrupting flights at Dubai international airport – in what the government has described as the largest amount of rainfall in the past 75 years.

The rains began on Monday night, and by Tuesday evening, more than 142mm (5.59in) had soaked the desert city of Dubai – normally the average amount it gets in a year and a half.

An average year sees 94.7 millimeters — or 3.73 inches — of rain at Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel and a hub for the long-haul carrier Emirates.

Some inland areas of the UAE recorded more than 80mm (3.2in) of rain over 24 hours to 8am Tuesday, approaching the annual average of about 100mm. Rain is unusual in the UAE, on the arid Arabian Peninsula, but occurs periodically during the cooler winter months.

Homes were flooded and vehicles were abandoned on roadways across Dubai as authorities sent tanker trucks into the streets to pump away the water. Many roads and other areas lack drainage given the lack of regular rainfall.

Flagship shopping centres Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both suffered flooding, with ankle-deep water in at least one Dubai Metro station, according to images posted on social media.

Lightning was seen flashing across the sky, occasionally touching the tip of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

The National Center for Meteorology “urged residents to take all the precautions … and to stay away from areas of flooding and water accumulation” in a post on X.

The United Arab Emirates government media office posted on its X account that the downpours were an “exceptional” climate event. Even more rain is expected.

Schools were shut across the UAE and were expected to remain closed on Wednesday. Dubai’s government also extended remote working for its employees into Wednesday.

Dubai’s international airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, also diverted some incoming flights on Tuesday.

Earlier the weather system caused floods across Bahrain, and left 18 dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.

Both Oman and the UAE, which hosted last year’s Cop28 UN climate talks, have previously warned that global warming is likely to lead to more flooding.

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