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In pictures: Record rainfall floods Dubai, halting airport operations as commuters struggle

Dubai grapples with unprecedented rainfall, as streets transform into rivers and airport operations grind to a halt. Chaos ensues as vehicles struggle through submerged roads, while passengers face delays and cancellations amid the deluge

Our Web Desk Published 17.04.24, 04:40 PM
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An SUV stalls out while trying to pass through standing water in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Heavy thunderstorms lashed the United Arab Emirates, dumping over a year and a half's worth of rain on the desert city-state of Dubai in the span of hours as it flooded out portions of major highways and its international airport.

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X / @ultimate__d

The rains began late on April 15, soaking the sands and roadways of Dubai with some 20 millimetres (0.79 inches) of rain, according to meteorological data collected at Dubai International Airport. The storms intensified around 9 a.m. local on April 16 and continued throughout the day, dumping more rain and hail onto the overwhelmed city.

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X / @titu_dipankar

By the end of April 16, more than 142 millimetres (5.59 inches) of rainfall had soaked Dubai over 24 hours. An average year sees 94.7 millimetres (3.73 inches) of rain at Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel and a hub for the long-haul carrier Emirates. At the airport, standing water lapped on taxiways as aircraft landed. The airport ended up halting arrivals on April 16 night and passengers struggled to reach terminals through the floodwater covering surrounding roads.

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X / @WazhmaAyoubi

The city's driverless Metro saw disruptions and flooded stations as well. Schools across the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, largely shut ahead of the storm and government employees were largely working remotely if able.

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X / @ClearedImprove

Police and emergency personnel drove slowly through the flooded streets of Dubai, their emergency lights shining across the darkened roads. Many workers stayed home as well, though some ventured out, with the unfortunate stalling out their vehicles in deeper-than-expected water covering some roads.

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X / @ThekamalGk

Rain is unusual in the UAE, an arid, Arabian Peninsula nation, but occurs periodically during the cooler winter months. Many roads and other areas lack drainage given the lack of regular rainfall, causing flooding.

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