Dubai's storm of 1981: Memories resurface as heavy rains, thunderstorms hit UAE

Curiously, it was also during the month of April


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Tue 16 Apr 2024, 10:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Apr 2024, 4:09 PM

Today's rain has sparked memories of the thunderous storm that pounded Dubai in 1981. Curiously, it was also during the month of April.

British expat Josephine Finzi, a former Khaleej Times staff member and the administrator of the popular Facebook group "Dubai - The Good Old Days," has been a resident of Dubai since 1979. She shared with us old pictures taken by residents capturing the havoc wreaked by the rain. The pictures shared here are from the Facebook group.

The first picture, captured by Drew Lawson from Scotland, depicts a scene from a day after the big storm of 1981, showing a sheet of corrugated iron wrapped around a lamppost.

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"Giant hailstones barraged down battering, denting and perforating everything in their path like a hail of.... giant hailstones," Lawson wrote in the accompanying post

"The wind....Trees and anything not fixed to the ground hurtled past my window."

Paul Woodlock captured the aftermath of the storm, with overturned cars outside the Al-Mulla Plaza on the Dubai-Sharjah road.

Check out Jebel Ali Sailing Club catamarans frozen in time, as captured by John Tarmar.

Len Chapman's picture shows the remnants of Godowns at Port Rashid after the hailstorm.

Ian Roberts' post recounted heavy rains in 1985, reminiscing about how Dubai Police quickly donned their long green raincoats and rescued many residents when their cars flooded and stalled in those deep puddles.

"The Dubai mantra in dealing with roof leaks was always ''Quick! Put a bucket under it!'' ....then after a few days, when everything dried out...........Forget it, leave it till next year, it won't rain again this year!'' he wrote. (remaining pictures)


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