UAE: Residents brace for heavy rains by parking in elevated spots, stocking up on essentials

The National Centre of Meteorology has issued an advisory, forecasting heavy rains and unstable weather conditions in the country


Waad Barakat


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 3:08 PM

Residents of the UAE always look forward to rainy days. However, they are now stocking up on food, protecting their businesses with sandbags, and moving their cars to safe locations as heavy rains are forecast for this week. Memories of the torrential rain and floods that impacted the country on April 16 are still fresh in their minds, prompting them to be proactive.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) has issued an advisory, forecasting heavy rains and unstable weather conditions in the country. The unstable weather will peak on May 2 and 3.

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Protecting a bookstore from water damage

In response to the weather forecast, residents have made the necessary arrangements to safeguard their homes and businesses. Grace Karim and her partner Somia Anwar, owners of Bookends, a bookstore in Dubai's Silicon Oasis, have decided to sleep in their shop.

Grace Karim and Somia Anwar. Photo: Supplied
Grace Karim and Somia Anwar. Photo: Supplied

“Last time we were shocked when we arrived and had to see our shop in such a poor state. This time we decided to sleep over in the shop to be aware of everything happening and be ahead of any crisis,” Karim told Khaleej Times.

They have also brought in bags of sand to fortify the premises against water damage. Their store had previously suffered significant losses, with over 13,000 books destroyed during the previous heavy rainfall.

Safeguarding car showrooms

Owners of car showrooms are also proactively safeguarding their businesses to avoid damage that had previously occurred to them. Speaking to Mahmoud Ahmed, owner of N1 Motors, he said: “In the last hailstorm that happened in Al Ain, approximately 47 cars were damaged.”

Ahmed took precautions this time, with weather forecasts prompting him to take the necessary measures to avoid previous losses.

He said: "The external cars are covered and lifted off the ground to avoid water damage, as the showroom only accommodates four cars. Therefore, high-value cars were placed indoors."

As for Riyadh Darwish, owner of Emirates Top Car Showroom in Al Ain, he has taken another approach to protect his cars from damage. "We have taken precautions by renting warehouses to store cars, to avoid what happened in the previous wave," shared Darwish.

Emergency kit and extra clothing

Thomas Alexander, an employee in the food service industry, was stuck in his car for nearly six hours on April 16. As a diabetic patient who could not access his medications for a long time, he had to abandon his car in the flood to save his life.

"After my car was flooded, I booked an upgraded car which is likely to be delivered today evening. It's an SUV, so I expect it'll solve the earlier problems. I keep a day’s dress and emergency supplies (plus medicine) always in my vehicle so I don’t have to worry about any surprises," Alexander said.

Alexander's job requires his presence in most meetings, so he created a plan B for everyone to meet virtually.

“We are only humans, we get into crises and forget, but not this time! This time we thought me and my team should have a plan in case the weather was really bad,” he added.

Residents are determined not to let heavy rains dampen their spirits. While they prepare for the unexpected, they remain hopeful that the upcoming rainfall will not be as severe as the previous downpour. They aim to minimize potential damage and ensure their safety during this inclement weather period.

Opting for safe alternatives

Ligin Thomas, an Indian expatriate, learned from his previous experience and decided not to drive in the rain again. “After last time, I have already decided to work from home if the weather worsens. I will not take the risk and try. Even if I had to commute to work, I would never risk driving my car,” he said.

Ligin Thomas. Photo: Supplied
Ligin Thomas. Photo: Supplied

He also opted to park his car in a safe location, an elevated parking space away from any area that could be flooded or have accumulated water.

Stock up on essentials

Lamya Hussain, a Syrian expat who remained in her home for three days following the April 16 storm, learned her lesson the difficult way. “During those three days, it was difficult for me to order food. No food delivery service was accepting orders and it was closed." In response to the hazardous weather conditions following the April 16 storm, several delivery apps have taken measures to ensure riders' safety.

“Usually, I am out for work most of the time, so I couldn't stock up on food. However, this time I'm buying essentials, canned food, and other things that I will definitely need if I work from home,” said Hussain.


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