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Umrah pilgrims praying amid heavy rains and thunderstorms in Mecca last year. Image Credit:

Cairo: Several areas in Saudi Arabia are expected to experience heavy rains, thunderstorms and dust-laden winds until Saturday, according to weather forecasters, prompting authorities to call on the public to exercise vigilance.

The kingdom’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) forecast that there is a chance on Thursday for medium-to-heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms, hail showers and dust-laden winds lowering visibility in the regions of Mecca, Al Baha in south-western Saudi Arabia, Al Qassim in the centre, Riyadh and the Eastern Province.

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The NCM Thursday raised the warning level to the ‘red’ in Al Qassim where torrential rain and thunderstorms are forecast. A red warning is typically the highest level of weather warning issued for severe weather conditions.

Medium rainfall is, meanwhile, forecast in the holy city of Medina, H’ail, Tabuk and Al Jouf in north-western Saudi Arabia, and the Northern Borders.

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There is a also a possibility of snow fall on the Tabuk heights.

According to NCM, rain, accompanied by visibility-lowering winds, and thunderstorms are expected on Thursday in the port city of Jeddah until the afternoon.

The Saudi General Directorate of Civil Aviation has warned against weather fluctuations forecast to last until Saturday and advised members of the public to exercse caution and vigilance.

The directorate urged the public to stay in safe places and avoid sites and wadis hit by flooding resulting from heavy rains and shun swimming in open waters.

People are also urged to heed official safety instructions.

In recent months, several areas in Saudi Arabia have been lashed by heavy rains, prompting suspension of classes and a shift to online education.