Dubai: Unsettled weather likely up to Wednesday

Gulf News

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Hundreds of accidents reported over the weekend as unsettled weather continues in region

Al Ain: Heavy rain and thunderstorms on Sunday pounded Al Ain, parts of Abu Dhabi and other emirates as unsettled weather continues to affect the region, particularly UAE and Oman, since last Thursday.

Forecasters said the conditions are likely to continue up to Wednesday with scattered rain and occasional thunderstorms. They, however, considered the weather system as prolonged but declined to rate it as unusual. The rain and thunderstorm have caused flash floods resulting in life and property losses in neighbouring Oman.

Vehicles drive through a flooded street following heavy rains in Sana’a on Saturday.

Ahmad Habib, a duty forecaster at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), said the rainfall had been moderate in comparison to 2003 and 2006 when heavy rain flooded different areas of the country. “It’s not unusual but you may say that it is prolonged, probably up to the coming Wednesday,” he added.

He said an atmospheric high pressure system over Russia has been blocking the movement of clouds. Also. the upper cold air mass has extended from over Central Asia down to central Saudi Arabia. The moisture-laden clouds have been making their way from across the Red Sea, central and southern Saudi Arabia towards the UAE, resulting in scattered rain, he added.

According to the NCMS, April is known as the transitional period between the summer and winter seasons. “This period is usually characterised by a significant change in weather with reference to the climate history,” said the centre. The month unfolds contrasting weather as the temperature begins to climb and occasionally drops to pleasant levels due to rain and thunderstorms.

In most areas yesterday, thick black clouds blanketed the skies with some scattered rain.

A light drizzle was experienced in the morning in Al Ain but later there was heavy rain. The rain also flooded streets and some low-lying areas, forcing motorists to drive slowly and more vigilantly to avoid accidents on inundated streets.

Municipalities are also on alert with workers from the drainage sections flushing out the rainwater on streets and low-lying areas as the country braces for more rain in the coming days.

The rain during the weekend holiday also caused hundreds of crashes on Dubai roads. Brigadier Omar Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Director of the Command and Control Centre, said that there were 687 traffic accidents on Saturday.

He advised drivers to be extra cautious while driving and adhere to rules during rain, fog and dusty weather as the rate of traffic accidents increases during such conditions. Brigadier Al Shamsi also said people should leave early to give themselves extra time to reach their destination to avoid the risks associated with speeding in bad weather conditions.

Major General Mohammad Al Awadi Al Menhali, acting director general of police operations at Abu Dhabi Police, has urged residents to be cautious. He said police have dispatched even more patrol cars throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi in light of the present weather.

Pictures from Abu Dhabi as seen by reporter on 27th April, 2013.

He also advised the public to abide by the speed limits and refrain from driving on dunes during rainy and cloudy weather.

The overcast conditions have also pushed the mercury to pleasant levels and people across the country have been enjoying the rain. Abu Dhabi also received scattered rain yesterday and Omar Albinni, an Abu Dhabi resident, said: “it doesn’t feel like I’m in UAE. The rain is so light and enjoyable that we are able to continue with our daily activities as usual.”

Some residents in Dubai’s low-lying areas said they welcome the rainy weather but not its after-effects. “Just ten minutes of rain could flood our front yard, including the service road,” said Roxanne Profugo, a resident of Jafliya. She, however, loves the rain but only once in a while.

According to the NCMS forecast, the weather will be partly cloudy in general, becoming cloudy at times, with a chance of occasional rain during the next 48 hours. Winds will be moderately rough in general to fresh at times, causing blowing dust over open land areas. The sea will also be moderate to rough. The temperature is likely to hover around 18 to 32 degrees Celsius.

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