20240204 rain in dubai
Heavy rain, thunder, hail and lightning hit the UAE over the weekend. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Heavy rain and thunderstorms have descended upon the UAE, and it's crucial to prioritise safety during these inclement weather conditions. The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) has provided detailed guidelines to people in the UAE, including precautions they should take to prevent serious damage and severe accidents in case of heavy rainfall, floods and thunderstorms

Here's how UAE residents can stay protected.

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Understanding weather alerts
Weather alerts are issued by NCM on a three-point scale.
Yellow alert: Be aware
This means you should be on the lookout if you go for outdoor activities.
Orange alert: Be Prepared
This means you should be alert; hazardous weather events are expected, comply with advice issued by the authorities.
Red alert: Take Action
This means people should be extremely vigilant. Hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast.

Basic precautions to take before heavy rainfall or floods

Here are the best pratices you should follow even before the weather conditions turn extreme, according to NCM:

  1. Watch weather changes. Listen to weather forecasts and official media if there is any notice or warning.
  2. Carry out regular maintenance of electrical wirings and ensure they are firmly fixed.
  3. Check water sewerage channels and carry out the necessary maintenance.
  4. Ensure first aid and emergency kits are ready to use. Always keep alternative lighting options such as a hand torch, lantern or candles ready for use when necessary.
  5. Do not allow children to play in outdoor, open areas.
  6. Secure items placed outdoors and put valuable items in waterproof containers, and close windows.


Basic precautions to take during heavy rains, floods and thunderstorms

According to NCM, if you are at home, these are steps you should follow:

  1. Keep an eye out for weather changes, listen to weather forecasts, official media updates and verified social media accounts.
  2. Check water sewerage channels to avoid water accumulation as much as possible.
  3. Disconnect home devices from the power source to protect them from electrical current running through the home’s electrical network, in case lightning strikes.
  4. Avoid touching metallic objects or electrical devices, and do not use water taps or any water connected to the plumbing system, as thunder could hit the wires and pipes.
  5. Do not leave the house except in case of a serious emergency.
  6. Stay away from glass windows and doors.
  7. Do not allow children to play outside the house.
  8. Abide by instructions and directions immediately in case you receive an evacuation order through the media or competent security authorities in the state, and ensure your own safety as well as your family's.
  9. Disconnect electrical current and close the water network in the event of hurricanes.
  10. Avoid showering as much as possible, when there is thunder and lightning, because the plumbing connections are vulnerable to lightning.
  11. You may use mobile or landline phones, if you wish. It's safe to use them indoors.
  12. Do not leave the house before ensuring the situation is back to normal and watch weather forecasts through local media channels.

What should I do if I'm outside?

If you are stuck outside during heavy rainfall or thunderstorms, here are the precautionary steps you should take:

  1. Avoid standing under tall trees, electricity posts and telecommunication posts.
  2. Do not try to walk along the shore or flowing water, in valleys or near dams or pools.
  3. Try to find a safe place and stay away from electrical power sources during heavy rains. Remember: Even if the electrical power point has been disconnected, it does not mean it is completely safe.
  4. Prepare adequate firefighting tools and equipment because lightning could cause fires to erupt.
  5. Avoid using mobile phones except in urgent cases, especially during thunderstorms.
  6. Use a landline phone for emergencies if you are in an open place, and be aware that mobile or landline phones are only safe to use indoors and should not be used outdoors.
  7. Do not attempt to reconnect the electricity in case of disconnection and seek support from competent authorities instead.

How to drive safely in the rain

If you are on the road and are caught in the middle of heavy downpour, you should keep these tips from NCM in mind:

  1. Watch weather changes, and listen to weather forecasts on the radio.
  2. Be careful and alert during sudden weather changes on the road.
  3. Reduce speed and do not overtake other vehicles, and turn on the lights.
  4. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles.
  5. Use the indicators only for warning, and use front and rear wipers to maintain visibility.
  6. Park the car off the road in case you have to stop it completely, and call your family to inform them that you are safe.

The story was first published on July 26, 2022 and has been updated since.