VEHICLES are seen submerged following a day of heavy rain in UAE’s Fujairah area on Thursday. —Reuters / AFP
VEHICLES are seen submerged following a day of heavy rain in UAE’s Fujairah area on Thursday. —Reuters / AFP

IN a rare occurrence, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were hit by heavy rains on Thursday, which flooded the streets, forcing many residents to seek shelter in hotels from the unusual summer deluge.

According to Khaleej Times, the downpour resulted in flash floods in the eastern parts of the UAE damaging houses and washing away vehicles. This extreme weather also prompted the UAE’s meteorological office to issue a red alert in light of “hazardous weather events” expected to continue on Thursday.

According to images and videos shared on social media, vehicles on a highway were brought to a standstill by floodwater after nearly a day-long rainfall. Other videos showed rescuers evacuating people stranded in the flooded areas.

Al Arabiya English reported that the UAE’s disaster management authority was coordinating with more than 20 hotels to provide 827 units that could house more than 1,885 people who were displaced by flooding. According to the disaster management authority, at least 870 individuals were rescued in Sharjah and Fujairah and at least 3,897 in total had been provided shelters. No casualties or serious injuries were recorded as losses were material only, the media outlet reported.

At least 870 individuals rescued in Sharjah and Fujairah; cars, streets submerged in Doha

The UAE authorities were working to clear the inundated streets as they called on residents to remain vigilant and stay away from valleys, dams and mountains that “continue to display heavy flow of water”.

Torrential rain over recent days caused major disruption across the northern Emirates, leading to waterlogged roads and closures, overflowing wadis and damage to homes, The National News reported.

Doha submerged

People are seen taking cover inside the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 countdown clock during heavy rains in the Qatari capital.—Reuters / AFP
People are seen taking cover inside the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 countdown clock during heavy rains in the Qatari capital.—Reuters / AFP

Meanwhile, the capital of Qatar was brought to a halt following heavy rains that submerged the streets of Doha. The Middle East Eye reported inundated streets and near-submerged cars close to World Cup structures as a result of the rain on Thursday. Qatar is expected to host football world cup in November this year.

According to Al Jazeera, the rain and thunder started early on Thursday morning and will last till the end of this week. “The head of forecasting and analysis at the QCAA’s Meteorological Department, Mohammed Ali al-Kubaisi, said that Doha had reco­rded approximately 38mm of rainfall (1.4 inches) by 10:00am local time (07:00 GMT), and 29.8mm (1.2 inches) in Al-Wakrah,” the media outlet quoted the Qatar News Agency (QNA) a saying.

It reported that “rain in July in Doha just doesn’t happen” as the reliable forecast for much of the Arabian Peninsula is hot, dry and dusty in summer. However, monsoon rains do affect some parts when it bursts out of India, most notably Oman and Yemen, which have regular summer thunderstorms, the media outlet reported.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2022

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