It is a day of mayhem for the capital cities of the Gulf countries. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain got heavy downpour….reports COT Azeez
In Saudi Arabia, seasonal rains have caused flooding in a city northwest of Riyadh. The rains on Wednesday lash the city of Buraidah as well as the Qassim province.
In Bahrain thunderstorm bring miseries. Manama International airport recorded 24.8 mm rain and the officials informed the unsettled weather conditions will continue. Neighbouring state of Qatar is also on water.
In Saudi Arabia, schools were closed for a second day as rain continued to fall on Riyadh, flooding some streets and forcing drivers to abandon their cars. About 10 cars were submerged under about two meters of water in a highway underpass in the Labban district on the capital’s western outskirts.
Workers were trying to drain the floodwaters into tanker trucks as a light rain fell from gloomy skies. The Civil Defense agency reported that 72 vehicles had been rescued in the Riyadh region with their occupants unharmed.
One person died in Rimah, northeast of Riyadh. Roads in the city centre were unaffected, although traffic moved along the main King Fahad Road even more slowly than usual. Some side streets were partly flooded elsewhere in the desert city of 5.7 million, which is dry and sunny for most of the year.
Other parts of the kingdom have also been soaked this week. At least eight people died in flooding last week in the Medina and Jeddah areas of western Saudi Arabia.
Qatar was hit by more than a year’s worth of rain in several hours. Roads in Doha were blocked as overnight rain made many near impassable for commuters. Schools and malls closed as the rain even forced the US embassy in Qatar to shut down.
Worst hit seemed to be the area around Doha’s Hamad International Airport, where almost 80 millimeters of rain fell, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department. However, Hamad International said that flights were operating normally, despite the weather conditions.
The US embassy said that the weather had forced it to shut on Wednesday and the offices would not open again until next week. The interior ministry pleaded for drivers to take care in the rainy conditions.
In Dubai, clouds darkened the skies and rain fell across parts of the city and elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates. At Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, the temperature stood at 22 C (71.6 F) at 4 p.m.
Normally parched countries on the Arabian Peninsula have seen rain in recent days as the seasons change across the Gulf.