Sharjah & Dubai: Four people died in freak accidents during Saturday night's deluge as traffic came to a standstill on arterial roads, police said.
The weather bureau warned of heavy rain and strong winds again on Monday and Tuesday.
Three people were electrocuted in Sharjah when they stepped on live wires. A 60-year-old woman died when a sign broke loose at the Indian pavilion in the Global Village and fell on her.
The rain disrupted traffic across the country and people going to Sharjah were hit badly as many roads were inundated and traffic lights malfunctioned. Scores of cars were seen left stranded on the streets. Police reported more than 170 accidents.
Early morning Dubai-bound motorists complained that the roads were unusable and many spent hours trying to get to their workplaces. The Roads and Transport Authority said traffic bound for Sharjah on Emirates Road was diverted.
Traffic was also diverted on Emirates Road at the interchange of Dubai-Al Ain Road towards Dubai Bypass Road, and northward towards Al Khail Road and Business Bay Crossing. It was the same scene in the evening as motorists spent hours on Al Ittihad Road trying to get home.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has denied sending a circular ordering the closure of all schools.
The three died of electric shock from fallen live wires in separate incidents, when they were walking, police said. An Arab man died at Al Yarmook and two Indians in the industrial area.
The woman died from her injuries when a signboard from the Indian pavilion at the Global Village broke loose and fell on her due to gale-force winds.
The flying board also hit a man who was treated for crtical injuries and is now in stable condition, Colonel Omar Shams, director of the operations room told Gulf News.
Three other people, including a child were treated for injuries in other accidents at the Village. The Global Village was closed on Sunday.
The Police were inundated with more than 3,400 calls and a spate of traffic accidents were reported. Of the 170 accidents reported, 21 were serious.
The heavy rains caused leaks in the Mall of the Emirates. The area around Ski Dubai was cordoned off and buckets placed to catch the drips.
Dubai Municipality workers were out in full force on Saturday evening clearing out the ponds of water. More that 380 workers plodded through the night, Abdulmajeed Saifaie, Director of the water and irrigation department, said. The teams were still out there on Sunday morning.
"Only about 8 per cent of the city is not connected to the network, those are the places that we send the tankers to," said Saifaie.
Sharjah - some areas badly hit
In Sharjah, the downpour flooded roads and residential areas. Driving in and around some places was almost impossible. Municipal sources said the drainage system could not handle the deluge.
Scores of cars were seen stalled in the water, which was knee-deep in some places such as the National Paints Roundabout. The Sharjah Airport put planes in a holding pattern as flights stacked up.
More then 200 traffic accidents were reported in Sharjah. Colonel Mohammad Eid Al Madhloum, director-general of the operations control, said the Airport Road, Emirates Road, Sharjah Ring Road and Industrial Areas were badly affected.
In some residential areas the water entered some houses. A number of traffic signals were not functioning and Anjad patrols were deployed to control the traffic. Al Madhloum said 80 school and college buses had broken down and fallen trees blocked some roads in residential areas.
"I left home at 7.30 in the morning and it took me two hours to reach National Paints, instead of the regular 30-minute journey. There was no way that I could go to Dubai," said Khalid M., a resident in Maysaloon.
In Ras Al Khaimah, police have warned people not to go to the wadis as there could be flash floods. People have been told not to go swimming in the sea for the next few days owing to bad weather.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has denied issuing any circular ordering the closure of schools due to the heavy rain.
Dubai Mall: Retailers unhappy
At Dubai Mall there was deep water in the car parks and taxi bays. A convenience store was closed after part of its ceiling fell. A statement from the Mall said the mall was functioning normally, except for some areas.
Retailers who did not wished to be named in Dubai Mall said they were unhappy over the situation.
- With inputs from Nassouh Nazzal, Mohammad N. Al Khan, Emmanuelle Landis and Anjana Sankar