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Sandstorm, rain lash the UAE

Strong winds uproot trees and blow away signboards as police warn drivers to take care

  • Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
    Motorists pass by as the storm hits Mamzar in Dubai.Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
    The sandstorm on Emirates Road in DubaiImage Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Al Ain/Dubai: Police in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai yesterday warned motorists to exercise caution while driving amid worsening weather conditions as sandstorms and rain lashed the country.

There was reduced visibility on roads and air traffic was reportedly disrupted at Abu Dhabi Airport.

Heavy rain hit UAE islands in the Arabian Gulf and coastal areas saw moderately heavy showers along with strong winds that uprooted trees in Abu Dhabi and other emirates.

The bad weather system developed over the sea yesterday afternoon and gradually headed towards the entire western coastline of the UAE.

Heavy lightning and hail storms were also reported from some of the UAE islands in the Arabian Gulf.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) reported 9.4mm rain in Abu Al Bakhush Island.

Residents of Delma Island also reported similar conditions, saying thunderstorms struck the area along with heavy rain and strong winds.

The conditions were also cloudy and windy in Abu Dhabi.

The NCMS rain radar showed a huge weather system centred close to Abu Dhabi and stretching all along the coastline. It made fall at around 5pm near Ghantoot and lost its intensity, but sent clouds, rain and winds to most parts of the country.

Motorists reported poor visibility and windy conditions around Al Maqta Bridge. Strong winds also uprooted trees in Al Bateen district and blew away car parking sheds in the capital.

The weather system also affected parts of Dubai and northern and eastern emirates.

Some 1.8mm rain and hailstorms were reported from Hatta at around 3:30pm.

Heavy rain was also reported from the mountainous areas of Sharjah.Some areas in Fujairah also received light rain. Conditions were partly cloudy to cloudy and windy in Dubai. The winds also reached as far as Al Ain and kicked up sand and dust.

Conditions were tough on roads stretching all along the western coastline and some internal areas.

Abu Dhabi police issued a warning for motorists, stating: “Motorists should drive carefully in the affected areas and be aware of distances between vehicles.”

Air traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport was reportedly affected for some time.

Police in the capital and Dubai reported reduced visibility on the outer roads due to the sand filled winds.

Dust clouds hit Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, while rain affected Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

A Sharjah police official said: “These conditions can be dangerous for drivers, motorists should leave enough space between other cars on the road and reduce speeds.”

They were also advised to turn on headlights to increase visibility and pay attention while changing lanes.

Forecasters said the unstable weather is an extension of a system that has affected the upper Arabian Gulf for the past several days.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain have been reported from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

It has now started affecting the UAE and parts of Oman.

According to the NCMS, the weather will continue to be partly cloudy in general at least for the next two days with chances of rain at times. The amount of cloud will increase over some northern, eastern, and islands gradually.

The conditions will also affect the temperature as it is likely to decrease gradually. Winds will initially be moderately rough but could become stronger and rough at times, especially over the sea.

The sea will also be rough. The relative humidity is likely to increase over some coasts and interior areas with a chance of mist.