• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Record rainfall bring chaos and death to Dubai where life never stops

Dubai flood (1)

Dubai where life never stops is struggling to get things moving again after a year’s rainfall came down in hours Tuesday, with some areas recording more than 250 mm of downpour in fewer than 24 hours.

According to some reports, Yesterday’s rainfall is the heaviest witnessed in the country in 75 years.
According to a statement by the UAE government, the rainfall, which flooded streets, uprooted palm trees and shattered building facades, has never been seen in the Middle Eastern nation since records began in 1949. In the popular tourist destination Dubai, flights were cancelled, traffic was halted and schools were forced to close.

One hundred millimetres (nearly 4 inches) of rain fell for just 12 hours on Tuesday, according to weather observations at the airport – around what Dubai usually records in an entire year, according to United Nations data.

The rain fell so heavily and quickly that some motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles as the floodwater rose and roads turned into rivers.

The weather conditions were associated with a larger storm system traversing the Arabian Peninsula and moving across the Gulf of Oman. This same system is also bringing unusually wet weather to nearby Oman and southeastern Iran.

In Oman, at least 18 were killed in flash floods triggered by heavy rain, the country’s National Committee for Emergency Management said. Casualties included schoolchildren, according to Oman’s state news agency.
A 70-year-old man died after flooding swept away his vehicle in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah, a police statement said on Tuesday.
The rainfall continued to shift east Wednesday, impacting parts of southern Iran and Pakistan, areas that see little rainfall this time of year. Iran’s southernmost city of Chabahar in the Sistan and Baluchestan province, 130 mm of rain was recorded.

People attempting to travel by road into the centre of Dubai on Wednesday were trapped on the city’s highway. Some taxi drivers refused to take the commuters any further due to the blocked roads, rendering them stuck on the main artery in Dubai.

Commuters were seen walking across the road through giant puddles, trying to find alternative methods of transportation. Some of those stuck had travelled from abroad to Dubai to attend the World Blockchain Summit, a crypto conference scheduled for early next week.

Dubai Flooded streets

Airport operations disrupted

Shocking video showed the tarmac of Dubai International Airport – recently crowned the second-busiest airport in the world – underwater as massive aircraft attempt to navigate floodwaters. Large jets looked more like boats moving through the flooded airport as water sprayed in their wake and waves rippled through the deep water.

Disruption to airport operations continued into Wednesday after the storm had cleared, with access roads blocked by flooding and multiple airlines including flag carrier Emirates reporting flight delays. Budget airline Flydubai cancelled all flights until 10 a.m. local time Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, Dubai International advised people to “not to come to the airport, unless necessary,” saying flights continue to be delayed and diverted.

Emirates suspended check-in for passengers departing Dubai from 8 a.m. local time on Wednesday until midnight on Thursday due to “operational challenges caused by bad weather and road conditions.”

Some 134 million passengers flew through the UAE’s airports last year, including 87 million travelling through Dubai International Airport alone. The UAE is home to approximately 10 million people. The UAE is a hub for five airlines.

Video shared on social media showed furniture flying off balconies. In the Dubai Marina, a manmade canal lined with skyscrapers and retail outlets, furniture from nearby restaurants could be seen washed away by strong currents.

Images published in local media showed traffic gridlocked on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, a 16-lane thoroughfare. Luxury cars were seen almost entirely submerged in the Business Bay district which is home to apartment buildings, offices and retail outlets. A Dubai Metro station was flooded with commuters having to wade through ankle-deep water.

Delivery services stopped functioning and many Dubai residents were unable to leave their homes due to waterlogged streets, which cars and pedestrians couldn’t access. Some residents were seen rowing canoes outside their homes, and one viral video on social media showed residents wakeboarding on a flooded street in a residential area.

Other videos from social media showed water rushing through a major shopping mall and inundating the ground floor of homes.

An official at the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology was cited by the local newspaper The National as saying that the rain was not caused by cloud seeding, putting to rest rumours that the chaos was man-made. The practice is meant to enhance rainfall in arid or semi-arid regions and entails the “seeding” of existing clouds with substances that eventually help the clouds induce rain. The UAE has been cloud-seeding since the 1990s and has been doing it regularly over the past few years.

Like the rest of the Persian Gulf region, Dubai has a hot and dry climate. As such, rainfall is infrequent, and the city’s infrastructure often fails to handle extreme weather events.