Rare heavy to moderate rain hit most areas of the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, causing closure of schools, stock market and suspension of flights on Thursday.
Rain was quite well spread as it fell in the northern Emirates in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, and other parts of UAE, mostly in the inland areas of the Eastern Region, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rainwater flooded many interior roads and highways, causing traffic jams as motorists were delayed by several hours while going to their destination.
Abu Dhabi’s stock market said it suspended trading and cancelled all morning deals after many traders could not reach the bourse. Social media covered the rain and posted vehicles half-submerged in flooded streets in Abu Dhabi and gusty winds lashing through palm trees lining the city’s streets. Others showed shades and construction barriers that had collapsed on cars.
Local media said police registered more than 250 road accidents by midday in Dubai.
The weather agency in the UAE, which ranks among the world’s 10 driest countries, said more rain is expected on Friday. The country’s annual rainfall stands at 78 millimetres (three inches), more than 15 times less than the amount for an average year in Britain.
Unstable weather is likely to persist over the country with large thunder clouds bringing different intensities of rain over scattered areas, according to a weather bulletin from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS).