‘Year’s rain’ descends on UAE within day


About a year and a half’s worth of rainfall fell over the desert in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between Monday and Tuesday and no more rain is predicted for today.

International media reports that the rain began to fall on Monday evening and by Tuesday some rain gauges in Dubai had already measured 142 mm. Dubai usually records about 140 mm of rain in a year.

The UAE government and the national meteorological center term it the biggest rainfall event in 75 years.

Rain is uncommon in the UAE, on the arid Arabian Peninsula, but does occur periodically during the cooler winter months.

At least one person (70) died due to the torrential rain after he was swept away by floodwaters in his car in Ras al-Khaimah, one of the country’s seven emirates.

Numerous access roads were flooded and some metro services in the UAE were forced to suspend.

Meanwhile, travelers have been warned not to travel to Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest, “unless absolutely necessary”.

“Flights continue to be delayed and diverted… We are working hard to restore operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions,” a spokesman for the airport authority Dubai Airports said on Tuesday.

Dubai’s flagship airline Emirates canceled all check-in times at departure counters by Wednesday as staff and passengers scrambled to get to the airport.

Heavy rains lashed the UAE and Bahrain overnight on Monday and Tuesday. Heavy rain in neighboring Oman preceded the stormy weather on Sunday. A total of 18 people, including children, died here due to the stormy weather.

The death toll includes at least nine school children and their driver after the vehicle they were traveling in was swept away by floodwaters in Samad A’Shan on Sunday.

Climatologist Friederike Otto, a specialist in assessing the role of climate change on extreme weather events, told AFP it was “highly likely” that global warming made the storms worse.

Official media say it is the highest rainfall since records were kept from 1949, before the UAE was founded in 1971.