Families enjoy a windy day out on Jumeirah beach, even as surfers take advantage of big waves, in Dubai. For illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Oliver Clarke/GN Archives

Al Ain: Residents are seeking shelter as the mercury dips below zero in a cold snap which is gripping the country.

The cold front is sweeping across the UAE according to the national weather bureau. Meteorologists are advising people who have to go out at night to dress warmly to beat the desert freeze in some areas of the country.

"Conditions are severely cold and likely to continue at least for the next two days," said a duty forecaster at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS).

The mercury plunged, he said, to -0.2C in the Jebel Jais area of Ras Al Khaimah at around 1.30am on Sunday. The temperature dropped to 4.4C at Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain.

Freezing rain

Temperatures in all corners of the UAE are the lowest so far this year and the cold north-westerly winds have prompted people to stay indoors.

Adel Hassan, an amateur meteorologist in Al Ain, also expects freezing rain in the Jebel Jais area today.

"It could possibly look like snowfall in the northern mountainous area so people living in the area have to take precautions."

The NCMS said the low atmospheric pressure has pushed the cold front over the UAE and it will stay for at least the next two days. The development could result in partly cloudy to cloudy, windy, and cold to very cold conditions across the UAE.

There is an increasing chance of showers in the UAE's coastal belt along the Arabian Sea, mainly in northern areas today. Winds will be fresh to strong but they could gust at times in certain areas.

The sea is likely to be rough to very rough with around three-metre waves offshore.

"Conditions are dangerous out at sea for small boats and fishing trawlers," said the duty forecaster at the NCMS, adding that people should stay away from the sea, given the dangerous shoreline conditions.

Arshad Ali, a Pakistani expatriate in Al Ain, said the weather was bitterly cold at night.

"I have not experienced such cold in the last two to three years," he said, adding that he had to arrange room heaters for the comfort of his family. The flip side is that Ali said he liked the cold for a change of pace.

Mohammad Mustafa, an Indian expatriate, said he was suffering from the cold and stopped going out after sunset.

"I am an asthma patient and the cold weather is a big problem for me," he said.

Hot drinks

Doctors have also advised people to cover their chests and heads before going out at night in windy conditions. Physicians are also encouraging people to consume hot drinks and dried fruit to help their bodies weather the cold conditions.

Temperatures at a glance

Al Ain City: Minimum 10C; maximum 27.5C. Abu Dhabi: Minimum 16C; maximum 26C. Dubai: Minimum 16C; maximum 26.2C.Sharjah: Minimum 17C; maximum 26.5C