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“Apocalyptic” floods leave Dubai shaken

  • April 20, 2024
  • 2 min read
“Apocalyptic” floods leave Dubai shaken

Dubai, one of the most well renowned tourist destinations in the world, has suffered an unprecedented 48 hours with the skies darkening and torrential storms washing away much of the city. Around 25cm or 10 inches of rain, twice as much as the annual average in the United Arab Emirates, fell in a single day leaving most of the city’s outdoor infrastructure underwater.

A cluster of four large storms, each towering 15km or 9 miles into the atmosphere and propelled by a powerful jet stream, rolled into the UAE one after another, forecasters at BBC Weather reported.

Heavy rainfall is not unheard of over the deserts of the Gulf. Residents were warned with a public alert system. But Dubai’s weather infrastructure was left unprepared for what has been the worst rain since 1949. “In many ways,” the BBC writes, “few modern cities would have coped with the size of the deluge that hit Dubai this week.”

The top attractions in the city, many of them indoors due to the heat, found it difficult to cope with the sudden downpour. The forecast looks sunny for the coming week but some storm and rain is still possible. Roads and other infrastructure have been crippled with Dubai’s leaders counting the cost.

UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Nahyan issued a public order, calling on “authorities to quickly work on studying the condition of infrastructure throughout the UAE and to limit the damage caused”. Government employees have been instructed to work from home for the rest of the week while private firms have been encouraged to do the same. Schools have been closed as well.

At the time of writing, the death toll is just a  single person, an elderly man whose vehicle was swept away, local media reported.

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