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Record rainfall floods Dubai, disrupts flight operations

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Flooding from record rainfall has disrupted transport and daily life in Dubai, with major roads submerged and the city’s main airport urging passengers to stay home.

The intense downpour, which dumped up to 254 millimetres of rain—nearly two years’ worth for the region—occurred across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday. This extreme weather led to the death of a 70-year-old man in Ras Al-Khaimah, who was swept away in his vehicle, police said.

Officials at Dubai International Airport, the busiest globally by international traffic, issued a statement advising, “Passengers are warned not to come to the airport unless absolutely necessary.”

Amid the disruption, a spokesperson for Dubai Airports said, “Flights continue to be delayed and diverted… We are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions.”

The deluge prompted Emirates airline to cancel all check-ins on Wednesday, with many staff and passengers unable to reach the airport due to flooded roads and partial suspensions of metro services.

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Inside the airport, long lines for taxis formed, and many passengers were left waiting as numerous flights were delayed, canceled, or diverted during Tuesday’s torrential rain.

The storms initially affected Oman, where 18 people were killed, and moved on to hit both the UAE and Bahrain by Tuesday. Climatologist Friederike Otto linked the severity of these storms to climate change, telling AFP, “It is highly likely that global warming had worsened the storms.”

It was the highest rainfall in the country since official recording began in 1949, before the UAE was formed in 1971.

Flagship shopping centers, Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, were flooded, with ankle-deep water reported in at least one Dubai Metro station, as shown in social media images.

Infrastructure suffered as some roads collapsed and residential areas experienced severe flooding, with numerous reports of leaks from roofs, doors, and windows.

To ensure safety, both public and private schools in Dubai have announced closures through the weekend, with some institutions planning to continue remote learning for an additional two days. Furthermore, the Dubai government has extended the remote working policy for its employees until Wednesday.

The National Center for Meteorology has issued warnings to residents, advising them to “take all the precautions… and to stay away from areas of flooding and water accumulation,” as stated in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Asian Champions League football semi-final match between UAE’s Al Ain and the Saudi team Al Hilal, originally scheduled in Al Ain, has been postponed by 24 hours due to the adverse weather conditions.

(AFP)

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