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Intense rainfall sweeps across Dubai and the wider UAE, disrupting flights


Flood in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 9, 2024. /CMG
Flood in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 9, 2024. /CMG

Flood in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 9, 2024. /CMG

Intense rainfall swept across Dubai and the wider United Arab Emirates on Saturday, causing localized flooding and disrupting flights at the world's busiest airport for international travel.

Nearly 50 millimeters of rain fell in Dubai over six hours – a heavy amount when the country as a whole averages under 120 millimeters of precipitation a year. Authorities sent crews out to collect downed tree limbs and open up drainage grates, though the rain quickly overwhelmed some areas.

Dubai police shut down portions of one major highway as traffic slowly crept through standing water on others. Rare lightning storms also lit up the afternoon sky.

At Dubai International Airport, also one the busiest airports for international travel, flights for both long-haul carrier Emirates and its low-cost sister airline, FlyDubai, were disrupted in the downpour.

Authorities had warned the public about the coming storm over a day in advance, with emergency personnel preparing for the rare rain.

The worst of the weather will be limited to the east and north of the country on Sunday, according to the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).

"Rain is currently concentrated on the islands and northern coasts, between heavy and moderate, and it is expected clouds will continue to flow from west to east, accompanied by rainfall," NCEMA posted on X.

Rain is unusual in the arid, Arabian Peninsula nation, but occurs periodically during the cooler winter months.

(With input from AP)

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