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Severe flooding in UAE – hailstorms, heavy rains and thick fog sweep the region


A hailstorm and heavy rainfall accompanied with thick fog swept parts of the United Arabian Emirates (UAE) on February 17, 2016. Severe flooding and low visibility conditions prompted warnings for drivers across the affected areas. 4 people died in a flood-related incident on February 18.

Dropping temperatures and a hailstorm were reported in the Al Malaiha area on February 17 while thick fog covered most of Dubai and neighboring Emirates. Very low visibility conditions were reported, prompting local authorities to warn the motorists to exercise caution and ensure the headlights or fog lights are turned on to ensure safe driving.

Portions of Fujairah experienced severe flooding and ice rain on February 16, local media reported. Low visibility conditions were also reported at the Minhad air base, Al Ain, Sweihan, and Khalifa College.

Thunderstorms and hail swept the North and South Al Batinah and Mountains of al Dhakiliah on February 16, as well. Severe waterlogging was reported in Fujairah, including Masafi and Dibba, prompting the local authorities to issue flash flood warnings.

Severe weather conditions have caused power losses in Khorfakkan, and several houses have been flooded in Al Madivi area. Rockslides have been observed at the mountainous roads in the affected areas.

Heavy rains were caused by a small low pressure field centered off the coast of the UAE, according to Quincy Vagell, the weather.com meteorologist. During the summer months, Dubai receives very little precipitation, and February is the wettest month of the year, according to the Dubai Airports. About 5 rainy days are usually reported during the month, and average precipitation adds up to 25 mm (0.98 inches) in total.

150.2 mm (about 6 inches) of rain fell during a single day in February 1988, and this was officially recorded as Dubai's rainiest day.

Mild temperatures were recorded through the UAE at the beginning of the week. Maximum values between 22 and 25 °C (71.6 and 77 °F) and minimal values ranging between 11 and 16 °C (51.8 and 60.8 °F) were measured in coastal areas on February 15. 

The National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) predicted the cloudy conditions accompanied with scattered rains will lower the temperatures until February 17.

A tragic storm-related incident claimed four lives on February 18 in Wadi May, Fujairah, when a vehicle got caught in a 3 m (9.8 feet) deep water torrent.

Featured image: Heavy rain impact in Fujairah, UAE, February 16, 2016. Image credit: @khalidkhan787


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