Nigeria: Heavy Rain Returns to UAE, Prompting Closure of Schools and Offices

Nigeria: Heavy Rain Returns to UAE, Prompting Closure of Schools and Offices

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

Thursday saw the United Arab Emirates (UAE) grappling with heavy rainfall once again, prompting the closure of schools and numerous offices across the country. Just two weeks after experiencing record-breaking downpours, attributed by experts to climate change, the desert nation found itself facing another onslaught of inclement weather.

The National Center of Meteorology reported a lightning storm accompanied by strong winds that swept through the oil-rich monarchy overnight, resulting in over 50 millimeters (two inches) of rainfall in certain areas by 8:00 am. Floods were observed in parts of the financial center, Dubai, where the city’s bustling airport, renowned as the world’s busiest for international passenger traffic, had to cancel 13 flights and divert five others.

Major airlines like Emirates and flydubai cautioned passengers about potential delays, while educational institutions transitioned to remote learning and governmental offices shut down. Despite the disruption caused by the rainfall, it did not reach the catastrophic levels witnessed on April 16, when a historic 259.5 mm of rain claimed four lives, paralyzed major thoroughfares for days, and led to the cancellation of over 2,000 flights.

On Thursday, the typically congested highways of Dubai were eerily deserted, with abandoned vehicles dotting flooded roads near prominent landmarks like the Ibn Battuta mall. To alleviate the inundation, authorities deployed water-pumping trucks in several affected areas, a common measure given Dubai’s drainage infrastructure’s limitations during heavy rainfall.

Last month’s deluge, which also resulted in 21 fatalities in neighboring Oman, marked the UAE’s most severe rainfall event since records began in 1949. Scientists from the World Weather Attribution network, specializing in assessing climate change’s impact on extreme weather phenomena, concluded that the unprecedented rainfall was “most likely” exacerbated by global warming fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Despite the challenges posed by such weather events, the UAE continues to grapple with their aftermath, emphasizing the importance of climate action and resilient infrastructure in the face of escalating climate risks.

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