UAE heavy rain forecast: Unstable weather to peak on May 2-3, says NCM

The UAE will see cloud formation in the south of Abu Dhabi in Al Dhafra area that will gradually move towards internal parts like Al Ain


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 29 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 1:37 PM

While the UAE is getting ready for challenging weather conditions commencing Wednesday, the impending scenario is not anticipated to be the same as the rainfall encountered on April 16, an expert has said.

The days ahead will witness moderate to heavy rainfall over scattered areas, occasionally accompanied by lightning and thunder, with a probability of hail, said Dr Ahmed Habib, a weather specialist at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).

“On Sunday, we witnessed hail in Al Shoaib area, which is north of Al Ain. Hail is also probable over eastern areas that can extend over some internal and western areas.”

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As residents prepare for unsettled weather and rainfall on May 2, he stressed that May 2-3 is identified as the ‘peak’ of the situation.

He added: “This will not be like last time’s situation. This will be completely different. The UAE will see cloud formation in the south of Abu Dhabi in Al Dhafra area that’ll gradually move towards the internal parts like Al Ain area. But May 3 will be the ‘peak’ of the situation.”

According to forecasts from the Met Department, the inclement weather is expected to begin from the west by Wednesday night, extending over most areas of the country on Thursday, and centred over western, coastal, and some eastern regions. Temperatures are also expected to decrease significantly.

“Over the next several days until Wednesday daytime, we'll experience the influence of an extension of low pressure originating from the East. This will bring increased humidity to the eastern areas and lead to rising temperatures at the surface level. Expect the formation of convective clouds primarily in the daytime, (especially in the East), with the cloud cover gradually moving towards the inland areas, including Dubai and Sharjah,” added Habib.

Shedding light on when the weather might improve, he added: “Over Friday-Saturday, the low pressure will move gradually towards the south. Then the amount of the cloud will gradually decrease, bringing light to moderate rain in general.”

Local and external factors responsible

“The influence will also stretch eastward from Abu Dhabi due to local factors. However, on Wednesday night, another scenario will unfold.”

Habib pointed out that the country will be impacted by an extension of surface low pressure from the Red Sea, accompanied by humid southeasterly winds.

“A similar low-pressure extension in the upper atmosphere from the north will also impact the conditions.” He elaborated that consequently, clouds will migrate from Saudi Arabia towards the UAE, commencing unstable weather conditions ‘late Wednesday night’.

“These clouds will evolve into convective formations, yielding rainfall ranging from moderate to heavy. By Thursday, these clouds will progress westward, affecting Abu Dhabi with moderate to heavy showers, before advancing further northward towards Dubai and Sharjah,” he added.

Climate crisis?

When inquired if the record-breaking rainfall on April 16 experienced in the country, leading to widespread disruption, was partially influenced by the climate crisis, the veteran weatherman said: “The cause of the rainfall on that particular day, whether it was influenced by global warming, is still being investigated and researched.”

In a span of fewer than 24 hours from April 15 to 16, the country encountered its most substantial rainfall since records commenced 75 years ago.

The UAE recorded 6.04 billion cubic metres of rainfall in this duration when the country typically receives approximately 6.7 billion cubic metres of rainfall annually.

With rainfall exceeding 100mm within a day at numerous locations—the UAE struggled with unparalleled flooding affecting highways, residences, and vital infrastructure. Over four stations recorded over 200mm of rain on that day.

Habib added: “We are examining 30-35 years’ of cases to gain insights. Various factors require a thorough examination to comprehend the underlying reasons and the phenomenon of global warming contributing to such intense rainfall events.”


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