'Howling winds, pounding rain': UAE residents on alert as adverse weather begins

While some devised makeshift rain defences, others who were travelling set out extra early to the airport to catch their flights


Angel Tesorero


Nasreen Abdulla

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Dubai South on Thursday morning. Photos: Angel Tesorero
Dubai South on Thursday morning. Photos: Angel Tesorero

Published: Thu 2 May 2024, 7:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 May 2024, 12:13 PM

UAE residents had an uneasy sleep as strong winds and torrential rain battered most parts of the country between 2am and 4am on Thursday.

The National Center of Meteorology earlier said the weather scenario was not anticipated to be as severe as encountered on April 16.

The country will witness moderate to heavy rainfall over scattered areas, occasionally accompanied by lightning and thunder, with a probability of hail, it said.

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On Monday, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority assured of its preparedness for the unstable weather conditions.

For Mark Angeles, who lives in Dubai South, the first thing he did at the break of dawn was to check his car parked outside the residential building.

“The wind was really strong. My family and I woke up as we heard the wind and rain pounding our windows. There were also lightning and thunder. Thankfully, it rained only for a couple of hours and when I checked our parking area, it was dry,” he told Khaleej Times.

A security guard in the same building who did night duty said “the wind was howling but the intensity of the adverse weather was not as bad as last month". Some trees, trash bins and billboards fell due to strong winds but there was no recorded flooding in Dubai South as at 6.30 am on Thursday.

Early to airport

Filipino expat James Arriola, who has an 11am flight to Bahrain, decided to set out for the airport at 6am. “I read from the news that we had to give extra time to go to the airport. So far, I monitored no road closures but I did not want to leave things to any chance, so I decided to leave home early,” he said.

Meanwhile, some shops made improvised rain defences by covering their establishment doors with plastic sheets and masking tape. A few put small sand bags at the door.

The government earlier issued an alert for "medium to heavy rains" on Thursday and Friday. Authorities have also announced remote working for government employees, and advised private sector employers to offer the remote option.

Waking up to thunderstorms

Mudon resident Azeeja Amanda was awakened by thunderstorms and lighting at 3am. “As soon as I woke up, I ran downstairs and put towels all around my front door,” she said.

“During the last storm, I had water gushing into my house. I didn’t want that to happen again.”

Mudon was one of the hardest hit areas in Dubai during the April 16 rain and subsequent flooding with many residents having to use kayaks to evacuate and rescue their neighbours. According to Azeeja, authorities took several steps to ensure the community was protected this time around.

“A tunnel on E611 has been closed since Wednesday evening,” she said. “It has been completely flooded last time so I believe this was a precautionary measure. Also, several layers of sandbags had been put up all around the community. I am glad that authorities have put in place such measures this time. It makes me feel safer.”

Residents from all over the country took to social media to share their experiences. Instances of heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds were reported in various parts of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

“We had the most violent and scary winds Wednesday night,” said Saadiya Ahmed, a resident of Al Majaz 1 in Sharjah. “Our neighbour’s garden furniture literally flew away. This wind continued for quite some time followed by rain.”

Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning. Photo: Noorul Hasan
Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning. Photo: Noorul Hasan

Likewise, it was a night of fitful sleep for residents across most parts of the Abu Dhabi emirate with heavy rain and strong winds, accompanied by thunder and lightning, starting past midnight.

“I woke up hearing a knocking sound against my bedroom window. We were expecting rain in the morning, but it started at 1 am here. The intensity had waned by morning though it is still drizzling,” Samuel David, a resident of Bani Yas, a suburban area of Abu Dhabi, said.

Several parts of Al Dhafra, including Al Sila, Ruwais, Mirfa and Madinat Zayed, recorded heavy rain from Wednesday late night.

Meanwhile, some residents were caught in the downpour that started in Abu Dhabi mainland since 1 am. “It was raining while I was returning from a birthday party past midnight. It continues to be overcast,” Rohit Raj, a resident staying in Al Zahiyah in the city, said.

Photo: Noorul Hasan
Photo: Noorul Hasan

Residents in the industrial area of Mussafah and other suburbs like Mohammed bin Zayed City, Khalifa City, and Al Rahba also had broken sleep due to thunder and lightning.

“Rain started here around 1 or 2 am. We woke up to the rumblings of thunder and the sounds of rain and winds. Till morning, I kept checking the situation,” George Joseph, a resident of Mussafah, said. “It’s still overcast. So, I am working from home. I was worried about our building’s basement getting flooded, but this time it is not as severe as the last one,” he said.

In the morning hours, overcast conditions continued across most parts of Abu Dhabi but the intensity had waned. It is drizzling in scattered areas.

Photo: Noorul Hasan
Photo: Noorul Hasan


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