Gulf States hit by torrential rains

In Dubai, the economic metropolis of the United Arab Emirates, some residents are amazed at the rain that has fallen in abundance in recent days. “It’s been two years since I’ve seen a drop of rain” smiles Thibaud, a French resident of the emirate.

The country has been hit by unusually bad weather. In just seventy-two hours, the Emirates received the equivalent of eighteen months of rain – around 150 millimeters in some areas. Winter is usually a mild season – temperatures hover between 20 and 25°C – while rainy spells are short and infrequent.

Salt crystals injected into the clouds

According to an official with the National Meteorological Center, this precipitation in the Emirates has been increased “cloud seed”. This technique, which has been used in the country for years, involves injecting salt crystals into the clouds and helping to increase rainfall – not create it. Authorities confirmed planes had been deployed to bring more rain. In 2021, 299 operations of this type were carried out throughout the territory of the Emirates.

In the Emirates, the daily life of the residents was quickly disrupted by this bad weather. On social media, the day after the New Year celebrations, many netizens shared images of the material damage caused to their homes by the heavy rains.

Many streets were also flooded in the absence of a drainage system due to the lack of rain. Municipal services have multiplied their efforts to pump water, rescue stranded people and ease traffic. Several entertainment venues in Dubai had to close their doors on Sunday 2nd January.

Omanis drowned in wadis

This Monday, January 3rd, the UAE government again called for vigilance, aimed in particular at motorists. The authorities of the other Gulf States also affected by this natural meteorological phenomenon have done the same.

In Kuwait, for example, lessons and exams in public and private schools have been postponed by one day. In the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia, pilgrims marched around the Kaaba at the heart of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in heavy rain. Bahrain and Qatar are also under water. However, there are no casualties in these countries.

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On the other hand, the situation in Oman is more serious since an Omani police officer announced the deaths of six people on the night of December 31-1ah January. Victims drowned in overflowing wadis as some towns were cut off by flooding.

Already in October 2021, the Sultanate of Oman was confronted with a meteorological phenomenon of high intensity. With wind speeds of up to 150 km/h, tropical cyclone Shaheen claimed the lives of eleven people in this country on the Arabian Peninsula. According to several national weather services, the bad weather in the Gulf is expected to continue until the end of the week.

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