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13 April 2024

Traffic chaos to ease as rains subside

By Criselda E. Diala

After four days of incessant rain, Dubai can expect a more favourable weather conditions on Thursday, the Dubai Metrological Office forecasted on Wednesday. 

"Although the skies [on Thursday] will remain cloudy to partly cloudy, we're no longer expecting that much rainfall in Dubai and in other parts of the Emirates. There could, however, be scattered rain showers," said a forecaster.

Downpours have caused serious traffic inconvenience for motorists as floodwater forced the closure of major highways such as the Emirates Road. Schools in Dubai and Sharjah were closed from noon on Tuesday.

Eng Taleb Julfar, Director of Drainage and Irrigation Department at the Dubai Municipality, said they have assigned a team to undertake the draining of floodwater that has affected the flow of traffic across the city.

"The Municipality has intensified its campaigns through the action team that works around the clock to meet the problems of water clogging in different areas and roads in the emirate," he said in a statement. 

The Municipality has admitted the amount of rainfall during the past days has surpassed the capacity of the emirate's drainage system. Julfar added this has been a rare occurrence in the UAE.

The government agency has also dispatched draining equipment and water-pumping motors to drain floodwater that has accumulated in main roads and drainage networks.

"The Municipality has formed an action team drawn from the departments of Drainage and Irrigation, as well as Environment [to work with the] private sector. It has sought the help of private companies in providing water-sucking pumps to drain out the rain water," said Julfar.

He also mentioned that the agency has requested consultants to inspect affected sites, especially the Emirates Road.

"We also have a team of consultants that will formulate a plan and programme to clear the problem," he said.

Julfar encouraged the public to report to the Municipality the location of any flooded area within the emirate by calling the DM Call Centre hotline at 800900.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said the international airport has been operating as usual despite the heavy rainfall during the past four days.

"We have not experienced any major flight disruptions although we've received reports that some people had difficulty reaching the airport because of the congested traffic. We had no reason to postpone flights since the rain did not affect visibility," a DCA spokesperson told Emirates Business.

According to a Met Office duty forecaster, Dubai registered the highest amount of rainfall at 65mm as of Wednesday morning. This was followed by Sharjah at 64mm, Ras Al Khaimah at 58.2mm, Abu Dhabi at 32.2mm, and Fujairah at 21.3mm.

The adverse marine warning remains in effect in Dubai, the duty forecaster mentioned, as offshore waves could reach as high as 10 feet (3metres).

"Residents and tourists are still discouraged from engaging in marine-related activities [on Wednesday]. We're anticipating the Shamal [northwesterly] winds to gradually weaken and move towards the northeasterly direction by Thursday," she said.

Dubai will continue to enjoy cool temperature on Wednesday with the highest expected at 19 Celsius throughout the day and the lowest at 12 Celsius  at night. The Met Office forecasts a fine and cool weather outlook with a risk of fog and light rain on Thursday morning.