Dubai: Motorists are being cautioned to drive carefully as visibility dips due to strong North-Westerly winds reaching up to 75-80 km/hr, kicking up blowing sand and dust over scattered areas and a cold snap that brought temperatures down to minus-2.2 Degrees in Jebel Jais, UAE's tallest peak.
The inclement weather affected a number of outdoor events in Dubai on Friday. The Global Village was closed on Friday while the Omega Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament was also suspended due to high winds.
The RedFestDXB, the Middle East's biggest music festival, held at the Dubai Media City Ampitheatre, was also cancelled.
The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) warned reisdents as towering clouds brought rainfall and fresh winds to the Northern areas of the UAE.
Visibility in some areas has decreased to 100 meters, as sandstorms and strong winds hit the country, said a forecaster from NCMS.
Temperatures across the country are reported to be between 12-17C, and are expected to drop in the evening.
“The beginning of snowfall over Jais mountain #NCMS station recorded 2.2 below zero at 9am,” NCMS tweeted. Police closed the road to Jebel Jais due to bad weather.
Long queues of traffic heading to Jebel Jais mountain in Ras Al Khaimah.
The NCMS has also reported heavier snowfall up to 10cm thick on the mountain tops of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah, after temperatures reached sub-zero level on Friday morning.
Videos shared by NCMS showed a snowfall in portions of the mountaintops at around 11am on Friday morning as the temperature dropped to -2.2C at the weather station there at 9am.
The temperature on the mountaintops of Jabel Jais has seen a slight increase from -2.2C to -0.3C at 2pm, said the forecaster. Temperatures in Mabrah Mountain are also reported to be -0.7C.
The NCMS is also warning residents to stay away from the sea, with waves reported to be as high as 15 feet.
Strong winds are expected to decrease, and temperatures are expected to rise by Saturday evening, said the forecaster.
“The beginning of snowfall over Jais mountain #NCMS station recorded 2.2 below zero at 9am,” NCMS tweeted. The cold air mass affecting the country this weekend is due to a low pressure in south of Iran extending to the UAE and north of Oman. This led to a significant drop in temperatures across the country.
The surrounding areas in Ras Al Khaimah is expected to have an average temperature of between 18 degree Celsius and 22C. The rest of the country will have below 20C on average.
Below freezing temperatures in Jebel Jais during cold snaps are a common occurrence in the country during winter.
The first heavy snowfall in living memory for residents was recorded on the mountain of Ra’alat Al Jais, also in Ras Al Khaimah in December 2004. It spanned an area of 1km.
In January 2012, it snowed again and in January 2009 the mountain had around 20cm of snow extending over 5km. The extreme cold spell brought the mercury down to -3°C on top of the Jebel Jais mountains.
A snowman on top of Jebel Jais. Thickness of the snow layer reached 10cm, states National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.