Dubai – heavy rainfall and flooding


Dubai, a city known for its modern architecture and luxurious lifestyle, has recently faced exceptional hardships caused by heavy rainfall that led to severe flooding. This usually dry and hot part of the United Arab Emirates has experienced heavy rains and violent storms once again this year. According to local meteorological sources, the amount of precipitation has exceeded the norm for the region, reaching exceptionally high levels.

Floods in Dubai – causes and effects

Intense rains hit numerous areas of the United Arab Emirates overnight Thursday to Friday, including the Abu Dhabi area and Dubai. Record rainfall amounts were recorded in Dhadna, in the emirate of Fujairah, and on Sir Bu Nair Island in Sharjah, where 88.2 l/m2 and 86.3 l/m2 were recorded, respectively. The weather disturbances that led to these anomalies were the result of a combination of different meteorological factors. This was influenced by the low pressure system from the Red Sea, the stretching of the higher atmospheric layer, the jet current coming from the west, and the cold air mass with accompanying clouds moving westward. These conditions, combined with convective clouds over vast areas, contributed to the rain.

The floods that hit Dubai have caused a lot of confusion in the city. Due to heavy rainfall and the lack of an adapted storm drainage system, many roads were impassable, and residents faced problems with flooding in their homes and disruptions to their daily routines. Downpours paralyzed the city and caused a lot of damage, estimated at about 1 billion dirhams.

Dubai Municipality’s emergency services and police were on constant alert, trying to restore normalcy and help affected residents. They recommended avoiding beaches and staying indoors. The rain also affected transportation, including by air. DXB Airport, one of the busiest in the world, has experienced flight delays and cancellations. A Dubai Airports representative reported that 13 flights had been diverted and 6 others cancelled to ensure passenger safety. “Dubai Airports is working closely with airlines, regulatory authorities and other DXB service partners to minimize any inconvenience to our customers.”

The reaction of the authorities

With rain forecast, the UAE government on Thursday called on the private sector to provide its employees with flexible work arrangements for Friday. In addition, police in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah announced that state schools will use remote teaching methods on Friday, thus preparing for uncertain weather conditions.

Dubai authorities, given the risk of severe flooding, have taken further decisive steps. Police issued a warning on Friday morning, advising residents to avoid beaches and areas prone to sudden flooding, and to be extra careful when driving cars. The police, concerned for the safety of citizens, warned boat, ship and yacht owners against going to sea. They were advised to keep a close eye on current weather and climate conditions and follow any instructions issued. Such action was aimed at avoiding dangerous situations involving strong sea currents and high waves that could be life-threatening.

The United Arab Emirates’ National Meteorological Center has issued a yellow-orange weather alert for thunderstorms and rainfall in an effort to raise awareness among its citizens about severe weather conditions. To deal with the effects of the floods, comprehensive rescue and relief efforts have been launched to drain flooded areas and support those affected. Temporary shelter places were prepared for those who had to leave their homes.

Sharjah authorities have deployed significant resources, including 96 trucks, 220 portable pumps and three high-capacity vehicles, to deal with flooding in the emirate. These activities were aimed at effectively removing water from flooded areas. The city has been divided into different sectors to ensure an effective and rapid response to an emergency. A 24-hour call center has also been set up so that residents can report problems and receive help as quickly as possible. The collected water will be diverted to 59 rainwater tanks to effectively manage excess water and reduce the effects of flooding.

Climate change – Dubai facing new challenges

The harsh conditions that Dubai and neighboring emirates are increasingly facing present unprecedented challenges. To better adapt to the changing climate, authorities should focus on integrating modern hydropower infrastructure solutions. It is important to develop stormwater drainage systems and invest in green infrastructure, such as rain gardens, which will help manage excess rainwater. Thoughtful urban planning that takes into account the risk of extreme weather events is key to increasing the region’s resilience.

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