Heavy rains pause Abu Dhabi flights, close Emirates schools


DUBAI: A thunderstorm brought heavy rain to parts of the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, disrupting flights, flooding roads and forcing authorities to close schools the next day in the gulf country.

In neighbouring Oman, three people died due to stormy weather conditions.

Water poured through ceilings and whipped through streets in Dubai, the UAE’s commercial capital. In Abu Dhabi, the hard rains forced the capital’s stock market to halt trading and close for the day.

Images posted on social media showed vehicles half-submerged in flooded streets in Abu Dhabi and gusty winds lashing through palm trees lining the city’s streets.

Others showed shades and construction barriers that had collapsed on cars.

In Dubai, police registered more than 250 road accidents by midday, local media reported.

All schools across the seven-emirate federation will be closed on Thursday, according to the state-owned The National newspaper of Abu Dhabi. Some schools in Abu Dhabi cancelled classes on Wednesday while those in Dubai closed early.

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The rain temporarily halted flights at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the home of Etihad. The rain also delayed some flights at Dubai International Airport, the home of long-haul carrier Emirates.

Flights at Abu Dhabi airport resumed on Wednesday afternoon after being suspended for several hours, aviation authorities said.

The rains disrupted the Abu Dhabi Air Expo held at the capital’s Al-Bateen airport.

The UAE’s National Center for Meteorology and Seismology had warned that heavy rains were possible on Wednesday. It said the unstable weather is likely to continue into Thursday.

The country’s annual rainfall stands at 78 millimetres, more than 15 times less than the amount for an average year in Britain.

Source: AFP