The charred remains of the barn after it was struck by lightning when a freak storm hit Madinat Zayed Image Credit: Twitter

Abu Dhabi: Thirty five rare falcon chicks worth Dh1.1 million were killed in a fire when the barn they were housed in was struck by lightning in Madinat Zayed yesterday morning.

Heavy lightning strikes were experienced in the western region, according to a spokesperson at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), with medium to heavy rain, visibility of just 200 metres, and gusts of up to 60 km/h in Al Gharbia.

Housing rare falcon chicks being raised for falconry, the barn was in one of the areas most affected by the freak storm in Madinat Zayed.

Sea conditions were also rough with waves of 10-12 feet and the NCM advised residents to stay indoors as much as possible, telling motorists to be careful when driving on highways.

The UAE has been experiencing stormy weather over the last few weeks, with rain, hail and dust, and forecasters expect similar conditions to prevail until Thursday.

Hail blanketed parts of Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain early yesterday morning as heavy rain lashed both emirates and Sharjah. Abu Dhabi International Airport also received light rain.

Charred remains of the thirty five rare falcon chicks valued at Dh1.1 million. Image Credit: Twitter

Forecasters at the NCM said the inclement weather is due to a surface trough of low pressure over the Arabian Peninsula, accompanied with a weak trough at upper air levels.

The lowest temperature recorded in the UAE was 11 degrees Celsius in Jebel Jais yesterday.

Videos of residents scooping hailstones which looked like white pellets and squeezing them were popular on social media yesterday.

The same video also showed Fujairah streets turning winter white with overcast skies in the background.

In Tawiyen, residents frolicked on a patch of greenery contrasted by hailstones. The area received 7.88mm of rain between 8am on Saturday to 8am yesterday

The highest recorded rainfall for the same period was in Umm Al Quwain which received 16.4mm. Jebel Jais also got 7mm of rain.

The weather was made worse by dust that enveloped the entire country, further affecting visibility.

Similar dusty conditions will prevail today and tomorrow, with chances of some light rainfall over the sea and northwards today and scattered areas tomorrow.

On Wednesday, rainclouds will appear again that could bring showers in scattered areas, associated with thunder at times. This will be coupled with a drop in temperatures.