Dubai: Unstable weather and thunderstorms are likely to continue on Thursday in several parts of the country due to a low pressure area before it gives way to sunny skies this weekend, the Met Office said on Wednesday.
“Weather will remain unstable during daytime, the amount of clouds will increase over scattered areas, accompanied by thunder and towering clouds, especially over the northern and eastern areas, with a chance of scattered rain with different intensity,” according to a weather alert from the UAE Met Office. With the instability in weather conditions, it is difficult to predict where the thunderclouds would be but all residents are advised to be cautious.
Heavy thunderstorms and fierce winds battered the UAE on Wednesday, causing flooding in low-lying areas, traffic congestion, and damage to property and infrastructure in most parts of the country.
Reports said more than 240mm of rainfall was recorded between Dubai and Al Ain. Strong winds of up to 130km/h pounded Abu Dhabi as recorded at Al Bateen airport.
Heavy downpours with strong winds were recorded in parts of Dubai, especially Jebel Ali and neighbouring areas, Abu Dhabi City and neighbouring areas, Sharjah, Fujairah, Al Ain, and Ras Al Khaimah.
Visibility was poor, and in most places down to zero in some areas.
Some companies in Jebel Ali Industrial Area shut down their power to avoid the risk of a short circuit as most of the area was inundated; some areas had waist-deep water. A spokesperson from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), however, said there was no power outage in the area.
“Dewa can confirm that there is no interruption of supply to the generation, transmission or distribution of its electricity and water networks. Any internal interruptions are the responsibility of the landlord or relevant facilities management Company,” a spokesperson from Dewa said.
Residents of Dubai Motor City reported hailstones early Wednesday morning.
Residents can go back to enjoying the outdoors this weekend as the weather will start to stabilise on Thursday evening, giving way to “partly sunny and beautiful” skies, as usual, across the UAE on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Dubai Police operations room recorded 353 traffic accidents and received 3,200 calls within eight hours during the rainy conditions that hit the city on Wednesday morning.
Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, director of Dubai Traffic Police, said that there were no deaths and injuries during the eight hours between 6am-1pm.
He urged the public not to speed in rainy conditions and to drive safely.
“People should leave a safe distance between other cars and be vigilant as accidents during low visibility conditions could be very dangerous, especially if the driver is speeding or is careless,” he said.
Talib Julfar, director of the Drainage and Irrigation Department at Dubai Municipality and head of the ‘Ghaith Dubai’ team, responsible for rain drainage, said that the failure of a rain drainage station on Shaikh Zayed Road caused severe flooding in the area and neighbouring areas.
“The failure in that station had caused water to collect, leading to traffic congestions, but we have dispatched drainage tankers to deal with the issue and it should get better within two hours,” he told Gulf News.
He said that rain water drainage teams have been dispatched across the city and will be working round the clock, prioritising badly affected areas, starting with main roads and side roads, then other areas.
The department has 86 drainage tankers that can be dispatched as needed.
Julfar urged the public to call 800900 to report any areas that are waterlogged in the city.
Dubai’s rain drainage network consists of more than 72,000 stormwater drains, which are connected to a complex system of pipes, that is more than 114,000 metres long, in addition to the collection tanks and man-made lakes and the 51 pumping stations.
He said the municipality starts their rain season preparations in September each year, where teams from each relevant department starts an intensive maintenance programme for all surface water and stormwater drainage networks.