Red alert in UAE: Residents urged to stay home as unprecedented rains paralyse life

Forecasters predict ongoing unstable weather patterns from Tuesday through Thursday

Cars drive through water in a flooded street following heavy rains in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 16, 2024. — Reuters
Cars drive through water in a flooded street following heavy rains in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 16, 2024. — Reuters

  • Al Ain witnessed 254.8mm of rainfall in less than 24 hours.
  • Thunderstorms, lightning persisted throughout night.
  • UAE govt extends remote work, learning till Wednesday.

The United Arab Emirates witnessed record-breaking and highest levels of rainfall for the first time in 75 years with even Dubai flooding under rainwater.

After the unprecedented weather phenomenon, UAE's National Centre of Meteorology issued a red alert, urging residents to remain vigilant as weather conditions continued to get severe.

While the rain has stopped in UAE states for the last eight hours, the government has issued instructions urging people to stay at home.

Dubai's leadership has ordered immediate measures in the city amid rain emergency during a meeting with the crisis and disaster management team.

As per media reports, Dubai experienced record rainfall of two years in just one day.

The sanitary staff in the Gulf country is busy draining rainwater from the roads. In Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other states, efforts are underway to remove the water accumulated on the roads.

Reports were received regrading an Emirati citizen being swept away in floodwater in Ras Al Khaima.

Al Ain, a region known as 'Khatm Al Shakla', witnessed an astonishing 254.8mm of rainfall in less than 24 hours, as reported by meteorological authorities.

Thunderstorms and lightning strikes persisted throughout the night, intensifying the downpour that continued into Wednesday.

Forecasters predicted the ongoing unstable weather patterns from Tuesday through Thursday, driven by a prolonged "low surface pressure" system and two waves of turbulent weather sweeping across the UAE.

In response to the escalating weather conditions, the UAE government directed its employees to work remotely on Wednesday, extending the remote working period for government entities as well as remote learning for private school students.

Private sector companies were also encouraged to adopt remote work arrangements to prioritise employee safety.

The heavy rainfall in the UAE has affected the movement of vehicles on major highways with vehicles left by their owners on the roadways and jam-packed traffic impacting even roads leading to the Dubai city's International airport.

Transportation services faced disruptions, with delays and disruptions reported on public transit systems and flight diversions at airports due to adverse weather conditions.

Meanwhile, the heavy rains in Oman have claimed 18 lives so far, according to Arab media reports; therefore, authorities in Oman have also instructed people to work from home.

In Oman, most of the trams were lost in floodwater.

Flights impacted at DXB

Dubai International Airport (DXB) said on Wednesday that it was experiencing significant disruption due to bad weather and was working to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

Flights are delayed/diverted and impacted by displaced crew, DXB said in a statement, adding that recovery would take some time.

DXB was temporarily diverting arriving flights on Tuesday evening because of a storm and operations were suspended for 25 minutes earlier in the day.

The authorities have requested the public and passengers to be patient after airport management's delayed arrival due to challenges during the commute.

At least 46 flights from UAE to Pakistan have been cancelled due to the rain.

Road congestion and tailbacks, including those on major highways like Sheikh Zayed Road, due to standing water, led to unusual scenes of commuters disembarking from buses and taxis.

Furthermore, electricity disruptions were reported in some areas, prompting residents to take precautions and prepare for potential power outages.