Damage caused by the thunderstorm at the Zafarana Market in Al Ain. Emergency services responded to more than 80 calls on Sunday evening, following blocked roads due to fallen trees and flooding in certain areas. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The meteorological office in Al Ain has warned of unstable weather, including gusty winds and minor sandstorms, across the country over the next few weeks.

Police have urged motorists to take extra precaution on windy days.

The present seasonal weather pattern has been caused by low pressure conditions in the south-western Arabian Peninsula that caused a massive sandstorm in Kuwait.

In Al Ain, a man died and 46 people were injured when the roofs of shops at the traditional souq collapsed in stormy weather late on Monday.

We rarely experience storms of this magnitude, however, when they do occur we ensure that all emergency procedures are carried out as effectively as possible, police said.

Seasonal volatility

The UAE is experiencing seasonal volatility which is causing many fluctuations that can cause incidents such as the 127 vehicle pile-up on April 2 that occurred due to fog, officials from the National Centre for Metrology and Seismology (NCMS) have told Gulf News.

"The transition season, which will end in mid-May, is caused by low pressure from the south-western Arabian Peninsula. This means that there will be several weather incidents occurring before everything stabilises in the summer," the meteorologist said.

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According to the spokesperson, the NCMS also observed the formation of storm clouds that resulted in 130 km/h winds in Al Ain on Sunday evening.

The resulting storm caused the collapse of part of a traditional souq, where 46 people were injured and one person died.

Emergency services also responded to over 80 calls that evening that ranged from blocked roads to fallen trees to flooding and property damage.

However, no new injuries or deaths have been reported.

Tent collapse

"The tent, located in the Al Khubais area, was part of an exhibition that was due to end this week. Fortunately, only a small part of the tent collapsed so the number and type of injuries sustained were not as bad as if the entire structure had fallen," Saeed Salim Al Kutbi, a Public Relations Officer at the Al Ain Police Department, said.

"We rarely experience storms of this magnitude, however, when they do occur we ensure that all emergency procedures are carried out as effectively as possible," he added.

Representatives of the NMSC also indicated that the next few days will see continued cloudy weather, with scattered rain and minor sandstorms occurring in various parts of the country.

They also said that winds are expected to reach 30 knots while an offshore high tide of up to 10 feet is expected.

"We are currently experiencing several atmospheric changes that may cause several road areas to experience a build-up in sand. This reduces the ability of cars to grip the road more securely, and combined with the expected winds, will cause cars to become more unstable.

"Because of that, we are calling on drivers to continue to exercise caution when on highways and desert roads that do not have safety features, such as road barriers," Brigadier Engineer Hussain Ahmad Al Harthy, head of the Directorate of Traffic and patrol Abu Dhabi police, said.