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Sharjah / Fujairah - 161 cloud seeding operations carried out so far this year.

Published: Mon 7 Oct 2019, 5:37 PM

If you have been wondering why it has been raining heavily in parts of UAE for the last couple of days, the answer is cloud seeding. (Check latest weather forecast)

The ongoing cloud seeding operations are expected to continue until Monday over the eastern and northern regions of the country, according to the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).

Khalid Al Obeieli, Head of Cloud Seeding Operations, NCM, exclusively told Khaleej Times that cloud seeding operations had been initiated a few days ago because of clouds that had been forecast.

"This is actually related to where the clouds are forecast, and these have been predicted by our staff at the eastern and northern parts of the country."

This is a kind of a daily routine to keep seeding clouds wherever they are, he said. "You can say we are chasing clouds wherever they are each and every day."

Wherever convective clouds are, the centre initiates cloud seeding operations based on weather briefings that happened everyday at 9am, he explained.

"These regular briefings foretell how the clouds are going to be for five days ahead."

Based on these weather forecasts, the centre alerted the four staff pilots stationed at Al Ain airport to get ready for clouding seeding operations, he disclosed.

"Each and every one of the planes on call at Al Ain airport carries 48 flares that contain about 1kg of sodium chloride each, and blow them below the clouds, not above them, to get more rains."

This is actually not an easy job, he underlined.

"Each seeding operation takes about three hours to discharge the flares over precise spots so that the salt mixes with millions of drops of water in these clouds, which get heavier and then fall as rain."

The cloud seeding operations have proved very fruitful in increasing the amount of rainwater by 15-30 per cent, he stated. "This is based on the type of clouds being seeded, and the amount of water therein."

"As these clouds rarely form over cities, no cloud seeding operations are carried out in those areas."

Official figures show that the NCM has carried out 161 cloud seeding operations this year so far, Al Obeieli stated.

"We have done five cloud seeding operations since Friday night."

Meanwhile, heavy rain continued over Al Dhaid and Maliha in the emirate of Sharjah.

Convective clouds, according to the duty weatherman at the NMC, are expected to keep forming over the entire country, particularly in the northern areas.

"These may be associated with rainfall."

Fresh winds are also expected to reach 45kmph, he added.

"These will cause blowing dust and sand leading to poor visibility to less than 2,000m at times."

"The lowest temperature recorded today, 14.7 degree Celsius, was at Jebel Jais mountain, followed by Merbeh mountain where the mercury dropped to 16.8 degree Celsius."


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