If it were a dark and wet Thursday, waterlogged streets after overnight showers greeted residents in many parts of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and other emirates on Friday morning, with the sun playing hide and seek and intermittent rain flooding some roads and threatening to submerge vehicles parked in sandy areas. Traffic slowed down in many areas as wet and flooded roads caused vehicles to break down.
The National Centre for Seismology and Meteorology expected the inclement weather to last today also.
It said the showers and accompanying winds in some cases were caused by a low pressure area over the Gulf. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates are likely to receive more showers for a couple of days.
Thunderstorms and lightning are also expected and the temperature could drop to the mid-20s. The rain could be intermittent and could range from moderate to heavy across the Emirates, according to the NCSM forecast.
Flooding also forced the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai to divert traffic from near the First Interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road in the direction of Jebel Ali-Abu Dhabi to Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Al Khail Road before noon.
The accumulated water was pumped out fast and the issue resolved towards noon, said Dr Aisha Al Busmeit, the RTA’s Media Adviser and Crisis Management Department spokeswoman. The sun came out at 7am in Dubai and Sharjah, but clouds gathered around noon. There was more sunshine later in the afternoon and Global Village said it was reopening after a day of being shut.
“Global Village announces the opening of the park to visitors today 22nd November, 2013 with its regular weekend opening hours of 4pm to 1am. Global Village welcomes all its visitors back to celebrate the weekend and join the fun,” a statement said.
Throughout Dubai and Sharjah, motorists could be seen pushing broken down vehicles through flooded roads and municipality pumps and tankers clearing water. In Al Nahda, Sharjah, the road behind Ansar Mall leading to Al Nahda Park was flooded and useless for traffic.
Residents sent in pictures of water-logged streets in Karama and Bur Dubai, while others complained that some areas in Deira like Muraqqabat in Dubai and King Abdul Aziz Street and Mega Mall area in Sharjah were in ankle-deep water.
Wam reported Umm Al Quwain experienced heavy showers with thunder and lightning which affected low-lying regions of the emirate.
In Dubai and Sharjah in the morning, some residents found water had entered their cars as they had parked in sandy spots. “Mercifully, it started as soon as I turned the ignition keys,” said a relieved Suhail Shaikh, a resident of Abu Shagara in Sharjah, who said he’d still take the vehicle for a check on Saturday or Sunday.
Others like G. Shankar wondered how light showers could cause flooding on the streets.
“I saw cars in water from the window of my building and, from what I heard last night, it could have barely rained for 30 minutes,” he said.
Nancy Assad tweeted, @Nancyassaad: “Few drops of #rain & roads got blocked accidents everywhere schools closing!! what will happen if there was a flood!!#dubai”.
Vaibhav Kalamdani (@VaibhavK85) tweeted, “Never ever imagined in my life that I would get to witness heavy #rains, #thunderstorms, #flood and #lightning in #Dubai.”
Visitors posted photos from The Dubai Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall confirming water leakage in some spots.
No major rain-related accidents were, however, reported from across the Emirates, but police officials cautioned weekend revellers and motorists to take to the roads with caution.
RTA mobilises resources
Meanwhile, the RTA said it had mobilised all resources and staff to clear accumulated rainwater on roads in the emirate.
Traffic flow remained normal on the emirate’s streets except for a minor part on Shaikh Zayed Road, as the RTA made traffic diversions in the direction to Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi, said Dr Al Busmeit.
The RTA, in coordination with the Dubai Police, diverted traffic to both Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Road and Al Khail Road.
The RTA had been ready since the beginning of the rainy weather as 30 engineers and inspectors were deployed along with over 120 workers from 10 road contracting companies to check |the roads, she said. Rainwater was pumped out from over 20 sites by using 25 pumps and water tankers.
She assured that the RTA had been drawing water out continuously from all areas reported to have flooding. Roads in Dubai, she said, saw normal traffic flow, except a minor part on the first interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road which was handled quickly and traffic turned to normal at 12 noon.