Heavy Rain, Floods Hit Gulf Region, Oman Reports 18 Deaths

Tue Apr 16 2024
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DUBAI: Torrential rains inundated roads, residences, and shopping centers, briefly halting operations at Dubai’s airport while storms wreaked havoc across the Arabian Gulf on Tuesday. Oman reported at least 18 deaths due to rain-related incidents.

Dubai, the Middle East’s financial hub, grappled with severe disruptions that triggered extensive flooding in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

Key retail hubs like Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates faced inundation, with water levels reaching ankle-deep in some areas of the Dubai Metro station. Roads and residential neighborhoods across the oil-rich Emirates experienced similar floods, an uncommon occurrence in the desert nation.

The UAE’s educational institutions remained shuttered, with expectations of continued closure on Wednesday, amid forecasts of further storms and potential hail.

Dubai Airport, the globe’s busiest international air hub by passenger traffic, experienced a 25-minute suspension of operations and over 50 flight cancellations. Social media circulated unverified images of planes navigating through flooded aprons.

“A temporary suspension of operations was enforced for 25 minutes due to the intense storm this afternoon, subsequently resuming with recovery measures,” stated a Dubai Airports representative.

In sporting events, the Asian Champions League football semi-final between Al Ain and Al Hilal was postponed for 24 hours owing to the adverse weather conditions.

Parts of the UAE registered over 80 millimeters (3.2 inches) of rainfall within a 24-hour span, nearing the annual average of approximately 100mm. Authorities issued advisories urging residents to exercise caution and steer clear of flood-prone zones.

Both Emirati and Omani governments have previously underscored the likelihood of increased flooding attributable to climate change. While individual weather occurrences are challenging to directly link to climate change, scientists emphasize its role in exacerbating the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

Bahrain also grappled with heavy rain and flooding post a night of thunder and lightning onslaught. Young Ali Hassan, while helping his mother clear water from their Manama residence, expressed apprehension, marking his first experience of such severe weather.

The storms, originating from Oman where they triggered deadly floods and stranded scores, swept through the UAE, Bahrain, and parts of Qatar. Oman reported a tragic toll of 18 fatalities with two individuals still missing, including nine schoolchildren and three adults swept away in flash floods, as reported by Oman News Agency.


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