Temperatures drop to 5°C: UAE officially enters peak winter season

Statistically, in the last 30 years, the coldest period in the UAE has been for "three days" between January 16 and 18


Nandini Sircar

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Photo used for illustrative purpose: Courtesy: Instagram
Photo used for illustrative purpose: Courtesy: Instagram

Published: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 3:35 PM

The UAE has entered the coldest phase of the winter season, with mid-January commonly experiencing severe cold conditions and temperatures dropping below 5°C in mountainous areas.

As per experts in the field, the period between January 12 and January 24 is the peak of the winter season in the Gulf heritage calendar of Al Drour system.

Last week, residents in various regions across the country experienced the winter chill, starting their mornings with single-digit temperatures as documented by the National Centre of Meteorology.

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The coldest day of the year has so far been officially registered on January 10, with Raknah (Al Ain) recording a temperature of 5.3°C at 7.30am. However, on January 11, the temperature in the area was 5.8°C.

Ibrahim Al Jarwan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Astronomical Society, stated recently in an Instagram post: “The period from January 12 to 24 every year is considered the middle of the winter and the peak of cold. This peak of coldness is the general feature of the atmosphere during this period. Temperatures drop at any time...”

The post further said: “The heritage calendar and astronomical calculation in the Emirates indicate that the peak of cold (winter) is during the ‘sixtieth day’ of the ‘one hundred winters’ of Al Drour calendar, which is ten days that fall between January 12 and 24.”

Statistically in the last 30 years, the coldest period in the UAE has been for “three days” between January 16 and 18.

The winter season in the traditional calendar of the people of the Arabian Gulf is divided into two main periods — “Arba in Al Merei” and “Arba in Al Aqrabi,” each of which has 40 days.

‘Arba in Al Merei’ begins around December 28 characterised by extreme cold and rainfall.

The post added: “In the northern regions and during nighttime, this phenomenon intensifies, creating a 'howling' sound reminiscent of wolves. Throughout this period, temperatures reach their lowest point, characterized by an intense cold, and frost forms in the morning.”


Apparently, during this period, fish move to shallow waters in search of warmth. During this period camels drinking partially frozen water could also potentially experience bleeding or develop bloody mouths due to the harsh cold conditions. February 5 marks the end of this period.

The next 40 days or “Arba in Al Aqrabi” also extends for a similar timeframe beginning on February 6, and ending on March 17.

It is marked by plentiful and extensive rainfall that impacts vast regions. Additionally, it is distinguished by varying wind patterns, including those from the North, northwest, northeast, and southwest.

During this period, the male palm tree (Al Fahal) begins to bloom, marking the end of the dry season for fruit and citrus trees. Lemon blossoms (Al Bayl) begin to appear.

It’s worth noting that within the traditional terms linked to cold and winter in the classical Arabic language, “Al Sabra” and “sarda” specifically convey the cold and signify the intensity of winter chill.

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