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11 December 2023

Hail, deluge cheer some, bring pain to most

A flooded area in Fujairah. (WAM)

By VM Sathish

Normal life was crippled by the unexpected rainfall, thunderstorms and lightning that struck some of the UAE emirates on Saturday and yesterday causing deep water-logging at crucial traffic junctions and highways.

The worst-affected were Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah where civil defence and municipality teams worked to drain off the rain water and silt, but could not clear the roads until yesterday afternoon.

Attendance in private and government offices was low as many employees either opted not to venture out in uncertain climatic conditions and heavy traffic or returned home after vainly trying to wade through flooded areas and heavy traffic. While some offices and industrial units in Sharjah remained closed due to water-logging, attendance in offices was substantially down.

As national weather forecasters predict rainy and windy weather conditions to continue at least until tomorrow, garages, recovery vehicles and car washing centres expect good business because many vehicles got stuck in the mud or stopped on flooded roads as water entered vehicle engines and electrical systems.

"Many areas in Sharjah are still under water. We did not leave our room since Saturday night because we are surrounded by water. Even our toilet and bathroom are full of water and we could not even have a bath," said Krishnan Pillai, resident of Al Khan, Sharjah.

Sharjah received this season's highest rainfall on Saturday night (36mm) followed by Ras Al Khaimah. Many residential units in industrial areas are isolated due to the water-logging, forcing residents indoors. Al Wahda, Al Khan and Airport Road were fully logged. The National Paints area was partially submerged and motorists had to abandon vehicles and wade through ankle-deep water.

Taxis, recovery vehicles and other essential services were difficult to avail of in the Northern Emirates. "There is one foot-deep water on the main road and we did not work today. Until the water is drained off, things will remain difficult," Pillai said.

Sharjah and Ajman Municipality officials dispatched emergency teams and deployed special tankers and motors to pump water from low-lying areas in the Northern Emirates. These efforts have been rendered difficult by the amount of silt and mud clogging city drainage system.

"I am thrilled by the thunderstorm, hailstorm and lightning with the heavy rainfall," said Jaleel, an Indian.

RTA road changes due to rain

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