Heavy rain swamps wide swathes of Dubai on Wednesday

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Dubai: Heavy rain swamped wide swathes of Dubai on Wednesday, wreaking havoc for anyone caught on foot or in their cars in the storm.

The deluge of steady precipitation yesterday in Dubai flooded low-lying sections of slip roads, roundabouts and residential streets.

Rumbling thunder and chains of lightning flashed across Dubai towers on Shaikh Zayed Road with a bright bolt of light appearing to zap Burj Khalifa at 11.37am as showers intensified into heavy rain.

Traffic on major highways, including Shaikh Zayed Road, Al Khail Road, Emirates and Mohammad Bin Zayed roads slowed to a crawl as heavy rain lashed windshields, reducing road visibility.

Huge tailbacks formed on Shaikh Zayed Road into Dubai Media City and Al Barsha where motorists were met with sporadic puddles on roads and intersections as well as random debris.

On Jumeirah Road in Dubai Media City, construction traffic signs and some large plastic striped construction medians were knocked over by strong winds around 10.45am that announced the incoming rainstorm.

Heavy rain also caused serious inconvenience for drivers and pedestrians who ventured into or near small ponds created within hours in parking lots and along the edges of streets.

An elderly man looked helpless in a four-door late model coupe stranded in the middle of a massive pond of water on the slip road beside Dubai Refreshments company. The boot of the car was open and the man just sat in the driver’s seat as water crested the top of the tyres.

Another driver on the Shaikh Zayed Road service road at Mazaya Centre was just entering his car near a long fence and had to tread through a foot of water on the roadside when a sports utility vehicle drove past, throwing a three-metre wall of water. The driver was absolutely drenched before he could get into his car.

Parents picking up their children faced long waits due to traffic jams in flooded residential streets.

Ponds of water also collected in low streetside areas in Al Quoz around noon making it extremely difficult for delivery motorcycles attempting to navigate the waterways around slow-moving industrial vehicles. Several waterlogged delivery drivers were seen attempting to kick-start their motorcycles that had stalled in the rains.

Drivers exiting Mohammad Bin Zayed Road south on to Al Ain Road created huge waves when their vehicles hydroplaned into a widening pond of rain that reached across all lanes.

Large Dubai Municipality pumping trucks could be seen late afternoon after being dispatched to problem areas in the city.