Giant hailstones, lightning strikes: Thunderstorms hit UAE amid unstable weather forecasts

Residents across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah reported rainfall of varying intensities as a low-pressure system swept across the country


Ajanta Paul

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Published: Tue 16 Apr 2024, 7:55 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 May 2024, 10:33 AM

"It's rumbling non-stop and lightning streaking through the skies here in Business Bay," said Dubai resident Gagan Deep Kaur as UAE wakes up to heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.

The country was rattled by heavy rains accompanied by thunder, sending lightning bolts flashing across the sky and torrents of rain battering homes late Monday night into Tuesday.

Residents found themselves startled by the intensity of the storms but were previously warned by the National Centre of Meteorology of the unstable weather conditions expected to persist until Wednesday.

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One Abu Dhabi resident, S Jalali, was jolted awake around 2am by the sound of heavy rain and powerful winds. "The storm was so intense, I was too scared to go back to sleep. I heard massive thunder and then the electricity went off," she said as the rain and winds continued to batter her window.

Residents across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah reported rainfall of varying intensities as a low-pressure system swept across the country. The Met Department confirmed thunderstorms and lightning over key airports, including Al Maktoum International Airport, Zayed International Airport, Al Bateen Airport, and airports in Sharjah and Fujairah.

A terrifying moment was captured on camera when a massive lightning bolt struck the ground in Shakhbout City, Abu Dhabi. The lightning bolt seemed to explode upon impact. The dramatic footage was shared online by Fahad Mohamad Abdul Rehman, known for his posts on rain and weather-related social media content.

Another video showed motorists in Jessoura, Abu Dhabi, caught in a barrage of giant-sized hailstones pounding their windshields, causing cracks. The driver was forced to halt his journey as the wipers struggled to shield the car from the onslaught of hail. Once the situation subsided, the driver inspected the damage only to find that the rear windshield was shattered by a massive hailstone larger than his palm, as seen in the video below.

Tuesday will face the brunt of the severe weather, with rain, thunderstorms, lightning, and hail expected to slap various parts of the Emirates. The country will be affected by two waves of 2 waves of unstable weather on Tuesday (April 16).

Second wave
Second wave

By afternoon in the western region of the UAE, a new wave will gradually advance towards Abu Dhabi. By afternoon and evening, it will progressively spread to the northern and eastern regions of the UAE, including Al Ain.

Thunderstorm building up. Photo: Windy
Thunderstorm building up. Photo: Windy

All government employees in UAE have been directed to work remotely on April 16 due to unstable weather conditions across the country.

Private sector companies on the other hand have been asked to take precautions in outdoor work environments where it is difficult to suspend operations.

All private schools in Dubai have been ordered to conduct remote learning due to unstable weather conditions. Government entities have also been directed to allow employees to work from home.

Ajman, Abu Dhabi and Umm Al Quwain have announced distance learning for private schools in the emirates due to unstable weather conditions.

Some flights out of the UAE could be delayed as unstable weather conditions intensify across the country, airline representatives have said. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said heavy rains on April 15-16 could potentially delay some flights.

Passengers have been advised to regularly check the airline’s website and “allow plenty of time to travel to the airport”.


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