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Friday May 24, 2024

Heavy floods hit Dubai, airport as Oman death toll rises to 18

Police and emergency personnel were seen driving slowly through the flooded streets

By News Desk
April 17, 2024
An SUV splashes through stagnant water on a road with the Burj Al Arab hotel seen in the background in Dubai, UAE on April 16, 2024.  — AFP
An SUV splashes through stagnant water on a road with the Burj Al Arab hotel seen in the background in Dubai, UAE on April 16, 2024.  — AFP

DUBAI: Unstable weather and heavy rain continued to overtake parts of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday (April 16), flooding some streets and stalling traffic in Dubai. The Dubai International Airport was temporarily diverting arriving flights.

More than 120mm (4.7 inches) of rain came down, which is the typical yearly average in the desert nation with more expected in the coming hours. Homes and roads were flooded and partially submerged cars were left abandoned.

Rain is unusual in the UAE but it happens periodically during the cooler winter months. Many roads and other areas lack drainage given the lack of regular rainfall, which has exacerbated the flooding. Heavy downpours affected all emirates, including Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.Sky News weather producer Joanna Robinson said: “Intense showers and thunderstorms have been affecting eastern parts of the Arabian Peninsula and southern Iran today, with further flooding rains possible on Wednesday.

“It looks like over 40mm of rain fell at both Dubai airports earlier today, potentially making it the wettest April day in Dubai according to the Met Office. “Urban areas and baked ground both increase the risk of surface water flooding as the water is unable to soak through the ground easily.”

Police and emergency personnel were seen driving slowly through the flooded streets, and tanker trucks were sent onto the streets to pump away the water.

The tarmac at Dubai International Airport was also flooded as planes made their way around what looked more like a lake. Dubai International Airport (DXB) was temporarily diverting arriving flights on Tuesday evening until weather conditions improve, it said on Tuesday, adding that departures will continue to operate. Operations at DXB were suspended for 25 minutes earlier in the day because of a storm. The website for Dubai airport, one of the world’s busiest, shows dozens of flights on April 16 delayed or cancelled, with affected destinations including India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

At least 17 people were killed after flash floods swept through various parts of Oman on Sunday (April 14) and Monday (April 15). The victims included 10 schoolchildren and an adult who were swept away in a vehicle. Rain also fell in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. There was also heavy rainfall in other parts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven emirates that consists of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.