Cloud-seeding rain to keep UAE cool


Overcast skies brought a moment of brightness on an otherwise gloomy Sunday morning, as UAE residents woke up to rain showers in early August.

Wet conditions were reported across the emirates, with heavy downpour in Sharjah and the northern parts of the UAE, while some wayward clouds brought rain to the low lying area of Mirdif.

Meanwhile, the rest of Dubai only experienced a light drizzle, with reports coming in from Bur Dubai, Al Barsha, Jebel Ali and The Palm Jumeirah.

Residents took to social media expressing enthusiasm for the unseasonal change in the weather. Some even sought an early Eid Al Fitr holiday to allow them a chance to experience relief from the sweltering temperatures that peaked at 53 degrees Celsius last month.

SM tweeted: “What a nice change of weather in Dubai the refreshing rain has brought.” A Ahmed wrote: “It’s nice to see some rain in August in Dubai this morning. Especially in the last week of Ramadan. Owais Mirza had a similar sentiment, saying: “Allah’s blessing in Ramadan.”

The good news for the cheering brigade is that the cooler weather is likely to continue for another 48 hours, as confirmed by the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, a spokesperson from NCMS said: “We can expect showers over the next two days, with a chance of thunderstorms in parts of the Northern Emirates. The weather will let up by Tuesday evening though.”

Many residents on Twitter appeared baffled with the change in weather, with TR writing: “I have lived 17 years in Dubai and I have never experienced rain in August. What is going on?”

Several others questioned if this was a ‘miracle’ brought on by cloud seeding which disperses substances into the air that increase rain.

The NCMS spokesperson further explained: “The overcast skies that you are seeing are actually errant monsoon clouds that have travelled from eastern Pakistan, southern Iran and the Gulf of Oman.”

Pakistan, especially Karachi, has been reeling with heavy monsoons, with the port city experiencing a deluge in the past 24 hours with many stranded and reports of flooding in many neighbourhoods.

However, the NCMS spokesperson also did not deny that cloud seeding was also a factor in the morning showers.

“We have one Jetstream plane that was over the north east parts of Hatta and Masafi today, facilitating rainfall to its maximum capacity through cloud seeding,” he added. “We have five planes on standby at Al Ain airport, with a possibility of a second flight later today.”

Warnings have also been issued in wake of the changed weather, with the spokesperson adding: “With the moderate to heavy rains in some parts of the UAE, we can also expect strong winds and reduced visibility to 800 metres caused by dust storms. This will continue until Tuesday, when the weather is expected to normalise.”

Until then, several residents can unfurl their umbrellas for reasons other than blocking out the blazing August sun.

Earlier report:

Dark overcast skies brought brief relief in the midst of sweltering heat, as UAE residents welcomed light showers in the morning hours.


Rain in Sharjah (Muhammad Huzaifa Asif)

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology also tweeted the same, saying: “Currently light rain on some areas in Dubai.”

Rain was reported near Jebel Ali, Al Barsha and parts of Bur Dubai, while Sharjah, Ajman and the Northern Emirates experienced a little more than the rest of the UAE.

A representative from NCMS spoke to Emirates 24|7, saying: “We can expect moderate to heavier showers in parts of the Northern Emirates, mainly Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, until tomorrow.”

Rain at Sharjah Musalla Park. (Mustafa Hamdani)

Talking about the anomaly, he added: “This a special case, with some wayward clouds having blown over from the Gulf of Oman.”

Rain on Al Nahda Road, near Al Qusais. (Raymund Dinglasan)

However, don’t expect the rain to last too long, with the NCMS posting on its website: “Hot and hazy weather in general during the daytime. The amount of clouds will increase over the eastern and the southern areas, with a chance of some rainy towering clouds.

“Moderate winds in general, freshening at times causing blowing dust and poor visibility, especially over the internal areas.”

Residents, however, took to Twitter with enthusiasm, with Mina Z saying: “I love how there’s a terrible dust storm at 4am and then showers three hours later.”

Chris B wrote: “Rain in Sharjah. Brace yourself.”

Derrick P wrote: “Now I’ve seen everything. Rain over Dubai in August? I suspect some cloud seeding shenanigans.”

Current temperatures in Dubai are averaging 35 degrees Celsius, with highs of 42 degrees expected later today.

The rainy conditions are expected to continue until tomorrow.