UAE weather: Widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Safety alerts were issued and speed limits cut as large parts of the UAE were lashed by heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning overnight and into Monday morning.

Thunder rumbled and lightning streaked across the skies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the early hours as persistent heavy rain caused disruption across the Emirates.

Authorities in Dubai sent an alert to mobile phones shortly after 6am to warn of “weather fluctuations” across the emirate.

The notice – delivered in English and Arabic – called for the public to stay away from beaches, “avoid valleys” and be careful while driving.

The torrential rain caused flooding in some areas on Monday morning, including in Mira 1, Dubailand, where authorities were already on site in an effort to clear excess water.

Several roads and roundabouts were flooded in Ajman after intense morning rainfall.

The emirate’s municipality team sent patrols to affected areas to help clear waterlogged roads.

Ajman Police urged drivers to avoid flooded areas and drive carefully in the wet conditions.

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Safety alerts were issued as large parts of the UAE were hit by heavy rain, thunder and lightning overnight and into Monday morning. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Thunder rumbled and lightning streaked across the skies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the early hours amid persistent heavy rain. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Authorities sent an alert to mobile phones shortly after 6am to warn of “weather fluctuations” in parts of the UAE. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Police reduced speed limits to 80kph temporarily on key routes. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

The rain comes down in Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

The National Centre of Meteorology has weather warnings in place for much of the country until noon on Tuesday. Antonie Robertson / The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

It issued its most severe red alert – urging people to be extremely vigilant over hazardous weather – for some areas of Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Heavy rain began falling early in the morning in The Greens, Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Building obscured by rain and clouds in The Greens. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Cars cautiously manoeuvre through flooded roads in Barsha Heights, Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

A man stands in the rain, smiling under an umbrella, in Al Quoz, Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

A man pedals through the rain on his bicycle, in Barsha Heights. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

People gather at the Dubai Internet City metro station, seeking refuge from the rain. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Pedestrians walk with umbrellas unfurled, navigating the rain-soaked streets in Barsha Heights. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Vehicles navigate flooded roads cautiously in Al Quoz, Dubai. Antonie Robertson/The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Flooded roads near Ibn Battuta Mall created a watery obstacle course, challenging drivers and pedestrians alike. James O’Hara/ The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Flooding is seen at the Garden cross roads intersection next to Ibn Battuta mall. James O’Hara / The National

uae weather: widespread flooding after heavy rain, thunder and lightning

Flooding in Al Yasmeen villa community, Ajman. Salam Al Amir/ The National

Weather disruption

People were asked to abide by safety advice issued by Dubai Police.

Abu Dhabi Police reduced speed limits to 80kph on Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Road and Abu Dhabi-Sweihan Road shortly before 6am.

The force typically cuts speed limits temporarily on key routes during periods of bad weather, such as fog and torrential rain, which could hamper driver visibility.

Sharjah Police said the ring road in Kalba City – the Mohamed bin Zayed City Intersection – had been closed due to flooding caused by heavy rain.

The force advised drivers to take alternative routes and to avoid wadis due to the risk of further flooding.

Sharjah International Airport officials urged passengers to arrive at least three hours before their departure and to check the status of their flights before setting off.

The National Centre of Meteorology has weather warnings in place for much of the country until noon on Tuesday.

It issued its most severe red alert – urging people to be extremely vigilant of hazardous weather – for some areas of Abu Dhabi.

The weather bureau shared a series of videos of the bad weather on its social media channels, featuring thunder, lightning and flurries of hail in the Northern Emirates.

It made for a winter wonderland in Al Ain, with videos circulating online of residents enjoying the icy hail covering the ground.

The NCM warned of more hail, thunder, lightning, rain and high winds throughout Monday.

The stormy weather is due to clear by noon on Tuesday, though the NCM has forecast more rain in the Northern Emirates during the day.

Temperatures are set to rise on Wednesday, the weather centre said in its latest five-day bulletin.

Safety plan

Authorities took proactive steps to safeguard public safety ahead of the expected stormy weather.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on Sunday urged employers to take action to ensure the safety of workers.

“The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation calls on private-sector companies across the UAE to apply flexible working patterns tomorrow, Monday, February 12, given the expected weather,” the authority said on Sunday.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority – Dubai’s private education regulator – called on schools and universities to provide distance learning on Monday in light of the unstable weather.

Sharjah Private Education Authority said remote learning would be adopted across “all educational institutions ” in the emirate on Monday as a safety precaution.

Remote working and distance learning will also be in place in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, has told the emirate’s government employees to work remotely on Monday because of the forecast wet weather.

His announcement, made on Saturday, excludes government jobs that require on-site attendance.

Damage

Vehicle owners whose cars sustain damage due to unstable weather in Dubai can now apply for a certificate issued by Dubai Police online.

Brig Mansour Al Qargaoui, director of the administrative affairs department at Dubai Police, said these certificates are specifically designated for vehicles affected by natural disasters.

“Due to the weather condition, car owners can apply for a certificate automatically through Dubai Police website without the need to physically visit the police station,” Brig Al Qargaoui said.

This updated service streamlines the process compared to the previous method, which necessitated a visit to the nearest police station with the damaged vehicle to obtain the certificate for insurance purposes.

Car owners simply need to access the Dubai Police website, navigate to the certificates service, and select the To Whom It May Concern certificate option.

They can then choose the Natural Disasters category and upload images of their damaged vehicles.

Upon completing these steps and paying the fee of Dh95 ($25), the certificate will be issued within one to two days.

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