NW woman brings home town weather to the desert as Arabia is flooded

editorial image

A Londonderry woman living in Arabia appeared to have brought her home town weather with her as 1,001 Arabian nights’ worth of rain in just a few days brought flash flooding and heavy rainfall to the North East of the peninsula on Wednesday, March 9.

Claire Mullan, who lives in Al Ain in the Abu Dhabi emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), told the Sentinel that, strangely, there’s currently a holiday atmosphere about town due to the freakish weather.

Large swathes of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai emirates have been badly affected by the flooding.

“All the schools are closed,” she told the Sentinel.

“So we’ve got the day off tomorrow. The roads are flooded everywhere and all the young fellas have been driving out to the desert in their jeeps to dune bash.

“We drove past the desert and there are hundreds of jeeps lined up. They all love the rain.”

The UAE’s National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) has stated that a low pressure system, coming from the eastern Arabian peninsula will continue to deepen on Wednesday, with its effects trailing into Thursday.

In a statement, the UAE Met office added: “The unstable weather will continue affecting the UAE and the cloud amount will increase over scattered areas with towering and thundery clouds associated with fresh to strong winds with different intensity causing runoff valleys especially near the mountainous areas.

Ms Mullan said more rain is expected but Emirati children are currently enjoying the experience greeting the rain in much the same way as Irish children greet snow.

“The children in the street are out cycling through the flooding. They’re not used to the rain, which for them, is a bit like the snow is for us.”

Prolonged heavy rain is a rarity in the Gulf, where countries such as the UAE resort to ‘cloud seeding’ to help bring about precipitation.

According to the NCMS: “The UAE is one of the first countries of the Arabian Gulf region that have use the cloud seeding technology, which adopted the latest technologies available on a global level, using sophisticated weather radar, to monitor the atmosphere of the country around the clock,

“In addition to the use of a private airplane supplied by special salt flares, has been manufactured to fit with the nature of the physical and chemical properties of the clouds that form in the UAE, these clouds have been studied previously in the past years before starting to carry out cloud seeding in the country and have classified these clouds and identify the appropriate, this study found that the best seeding for clouds form in the summer over the eastern and southwestern regions.”