Watch: Overjoyed UAE residents have hail fights, build 'snowman' as Al Ain streets are covered in white

The country's best-known storm chaser told Khaleej Times all about how he knew the hailstorm would happen as early as two weeks ago


Laraib Anwer

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 11:46 AM

Last updated: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 5:22 PM

Al Ain residents woke up to streets blanketed in white on Monday morning, as large balls of icy hail pelted their cars, windows and surroundings. As the country experiences turbulent weather conditions, the people in Al Ain, who are usually used to the occurrence of hail during such weather, were taken aback by the intensity of the phenomenon.

The country's best-known 'storm chaser' Fahad Mohamad Abdul Rehman did not disappoint, sharing several videos of thrilled residents — adults and children alike — having hail fights and cheering as they explore the hail-laden grounds after the intense morning storm.

Take a look at how these residents gathered in Al Ain's Tastaahal area to experience the city's 'white rain'.

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Fahad, who KT had interviewed back in December, dashed to the city before the hailstorm had even begun. A Dubai resident, the 27-year-old Emirati reached Al Ain at 4am. Speaking to Khaleej Times, the man who seems to be everywhere at exactly the right time, revealed that he knew there would be a hailstorm as early as two weeks ago.

"Two weeks ago, the weather had suddenly gotten hot, which is unusual for this time of the year. After that, there was a brief period with gusts of Shamal air followed by warm weather again. This usually means some type of unusual phenomenon might take place."

And right on cue, Fahad was in Al Tiwayyah area to witness hail pelting the streets and deserts alike.

According to him, the heavy hailstorm began at around 5am and went on for more than an hour. "It was massive. The ice was huge in size, something we have not seen before in this part of the region. A lot of cars were damaged. Luckily, people were sleeping at the time so they were safe."

In one of the videos shared, hail is seen pouring down heavily as he struggles to hold on to his protective wear.

In another video he shared, cars can be seen driving up dunes covered in hail. "It was very difficult to drive on the dunes with the ice. But many people ventured out to enjoy the experience."

Yet another video shows how the hail truly brought out residents' playful nature as they formed a 'snowman' on the ground with the hailstones.

Residents react

Despite the beauty of it all, some residents admit they were worried when they saw the fierceness of the storm.

Sujit Kumar, an Indian residing in Al Ain, described the experience to Khaleej Times. "The storm started around 5am with heavy rain and winds. Unfortunately, it has destroyed all the front and rear glass panels and dented the body of several cars. The glass windows and name boards of some shops were damaged too."

In a video shared by the 48-year-old, some cars are seen buried in hail up till their wheels.

For some residents, it was a unique experience and something they might not see again for a long time. Amna Isam, a young Sudanese expat living in Al Ain, headed out with her family to make most of the weather.

"The hail was so big and something we have never seen before. We stopped the car on the side of the street and started playing."

Amna Isam
Amna Isam

Filipino expat, Angel Dumaguit Frias, gathered her friends as they enjoyed outside their home. “I’ve been in the UAE for 11 years and it’s the first time I’ve seen ice in the desert,” she said.

Angel Dumaguit Frias
Angel Dumaguit Frias


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