Dubai: Three people were killed and several injured Monday in a spate of traffic accidents reported in Abu Dhabi and Dubai following rain.
Meanwhile, the Dubai International airport has confirmed that seven inbound and outbound flights were diverted due to bad weather.
Some delays are also expected on Tuesday, according to an an airport official. Passengers are advised to check with their airline or the airport's website.
Weather disrupted operations last night with 7 diversions.Some delays expected today.Please check with your airline/our website for updates.— Dubai Airports (@DubaiAirports) January 20, 2015
In Dubai, a man was killed and two injured when a bus carrying three people swerved on Mohammad Bin Zayed Road under Al Nahda Street bridge and hit a vehicle parked on the hard shoulder.
In another incident, a man was killed and another injured in a run-over accident on Shaikh Zayed Road. They were standing outside their vehicle following an accident.
In a third accident, an Emirati man was seriously injured in a three-car accident on the Dubai-Al Ain Road.
In Abu Dhabi, a Gulf national was killed while three Asian men suffered minor injuries in seven separate accidents.
Dubai Police said there were 13 cases of vehicles catching fire yesterday. There were no injuries reported.
Dubai Police Operations room recorded 756 accidents within eight hours, between 6am-12pm, during the rain yesterday morning.
Brig Omar Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Deputy Director of the Department of Operations, said that there were nine run-over accidents and 13 serious car fires during the same period.
Of the 756, there were 293 minor two-vehicle crashes, 17 moderate crashes, and 13 serious crashes. He added there were 36 crashes between three or more vehicles — 19 minor, two moderate and 15 serious.
Other accidents involving one vehicle included 60 incidents of drivers hitting the pavement, 28 hitting a wall, six running into road signs, four hitting posts and three hitting trees.
Dubai also witnessed more than 570 minor accidents as rain hit most parts of the country, with Ras Al Khaimah was worst affected. However, no fatalities were reported in Dubai or the northern emirates.
Hailstorms were reported in some parts of Abu Dhabi while several areas and wadis of Ras Al Khaimah saw heavy flooding caused by incessant rain.
According to Lt Col Jamal Salem Al Ameri, Chief of Public Relations Section in the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the Ministry of Interior, the police responded to the emergencies within minutes and an ambulance was dispatched to each location. Vehicles were evacuated from the affected roads to restore traffic flow.
Preliminary investigations reveal that the main causes of the incidents were speeding during turbulent weather and failure to leave a safe distance between vehicles, in addition to lack of attention to changing road conditions.
Several streets in Sharjah and Ajman were water-logged after overnight and morning showers, affecting the morning peak hour traffic.
Roads linking Sharjah with Dubai, including Al Ittihad Road, Beirut Road and Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, were worst affected, with hundreds of motorists reporting late for work.
Slow-moving traffic could be seen for at least five hours after 6am, causing tailbacks which were several kilometres long.
Shaikh Zayed Road also saw traffic tailbacks in both directions since the morning.
In Dubai a dedicated team of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is on high alert to tackle any weather-related situation on the roads.
“We keep track of the weather constantly and we have been on high alert over the last couple of days. We have a team of 35 inspectors who are on the ground to monitor the situation. Our contracts are also on the roads with pumps to suck out water wherever there is water-logging,” said Hussain Al Banna, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.
In Sharjah, emergency teams from Sharjah Municipality are also taking immediate action to drain rainwater.
—With inputs from Noorhan Barakat and Jumana Khamis, Staff Reporters