Heavy storms soak Gulf as Oman death toll rises to 18

Published April 16, 2024
A vehicle moves along a flooded road in Bahrain’s Sitra island district during a heavy rain storm early on April 16. — AFP
A vehicle moves along a flooded road in Bahrain’s Sitra island district during a heavy rain storm early on April 16. — AFP
Vehicles are parked in a flooded parking lot following torrential rain in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai, UAE on April 16. — AFP
Vehicles are parked in a flooded parking lot following torrential rain in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai, UAE on April 16. — AFP

Torrential rains and high winds lashed parts of the Gulf on Tuesday as the death toll from storms in Oman rose to 18, many of them children.

Flights were cancelled in Dubai, the region’s financial hub, while schools were shut in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Flooding hit many areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, and cut off major roads, snarling traffic and leaving cars stranded.

Dubai’s skies, usually electric blue and cloudless, darkened to night-like conditions in mid-afternoon as a second storm front blew in.

The storms were expected to continue on Wednesday, UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology said.

Some inland areas of the desert country recorded more than 80 millimetres of rain, approaching the annual average of about 100mm.

The weather board “urged residents to take all the precautions … and to stay away from areas of flooding and water accumulation”, in a post on X.

A total of 17 inbound and outbound flights were cancelled during the morning and three were diverted, Dubai Airports said in a statement.

Bahrain was also hit by heavy rain and flooding after being pummelled by thunder and lightning overnight.

The storms descended on the UAE, Bahrain and areas of Qatar after passing over Oman, where they caused deadly floods and left dozens stranded.

A child’s body was recovered on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 18 with two people missing, emergency authorities told the official Oman News Agency.

Nine schoolchildren and three adults died when their vehicles were swept away in flash floods, the news agency reported on Sunday.

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