Record Rainfall Lashes Dubai

4 mins

Airport, malls, roads and homes suffered severe flooding while there were 18 reported deaths in Oman

Storms have released the heaviest rain ever recorded in the UAE, flooding roads and Dubai’s airport.

The nation’s news agency called the rain on Tuesday ‘a historic weather event’ that exceeded ‘anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949’.

Meterologists say the equivalent of a years worth of rain, 142mm, fell in just one day. Homes, roads, shopping malls and metro stations were flooded while partially submerged cars were abandoned.

car abandoned after sever flooding caused by intense rains

In Ras al-Khaimah, police said one 70-year-old man died when his vehicle was swept away by floodwater.

Meanwhile in neighboring Oman at least 18 people were killed in heavy rains in recent days, according to a statement  from the country’s National Committee for Emergency Management.

That includes 10 schoolchildren swept away in a vehicle along with an adult.

Dubai Deluge

The rains began late Monday, soaking Dubai with some 20 millimeters  of rain, according to meteorological data collected at Dubai International Airport.

The deluge intensified around 9am Tuesday and continued throughout the day, dumping more rain and hail onto the city.

By the end of Tuesday, more than 142 millimeters of rainfall had soaked Dubai over 24 hours. An average year sees 94.7 millimeters  of rain at Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel.

car submerged in rain water
A flooded road during a heavy rainfall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 16 April 2024. A severe wave of thunderstorms with heavy rainfall is hitting most UAE’s cities especially in Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain where the Asian Champions League semi final first leg match between UAE’s Al-Ain Club and Al-Hilal from Saudi Arabia has been postponed. EPA-EFE/ALI HAIDER

Arrivals were halted Tuesday night, and passengers struggled to reach terminals through the floodwater covering surrounding roads.

Dubai International Airport acknowledged Wednesday morning that the flooding had left ‘limited transportation options’ and affected flights as aircraft crews couldn’t reach the airfield.

‘Recovery will take some time,’ the airport said on the social platform X, formerly Twitter. ‘We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through these challenges.’

National carrier Emirates has decided to suspend travel procedures for passengers departing from Dubai starting from 8am on Wednesday, until midnight on 18 April, ‘due to operational challenges resulting from adverse weather conditions and road conditions’.

‘We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,’ the airline said on X. ‘Emirates is working hard to restore our scheduled operations.’ Passengers on FlyDubai, Emirates’ low-cost sister airline, also faced disruptions.

Paul Griffiths, the airport’s CEO, acknowledged continued issues with flooding Wednesday morning, saying every place an aircraft could be safely parked was taken. Some aircraft had been diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central.

Dubai flood after heavy rain hit UAE. April 16, 2024

‘It remains an incredibly challenging time. In living memory, I don’t think anyone has ever seen conditions like it,’ Griffiths told radio station Dubai Eye. ‘We are in uncharted territory, but I can assure everyone we are working as hard as we possibly can to make sure our customers and staff are looked after.’

The majority of schools across the UAE largeshut ahead of the storm and government employees were largely working remotely.

Authorities sent tanker trucks out into the streets and highways to pump away the water which also poured into some homes, forcing people to bail out their houses. High winds caused furniture, especially on the balconies of highrise apartments, to fly through the air.

Fujairah saw the heaviest rainfall Tuesday with 145 millimeters falling.

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