Desert city Dubai drowns in heaviest rainfall in 75 years

The United Arab Emirates has been inundated by unprecedented rainfall, leading to widespread flooding that has disrupted flights at one of the world’s busiest airports, closed schools, and submerged malls. The government has described the event as the most significant rainfall in the last 75 years. The severe weather resulted in the death of a 70-year-old man in Ras Al Khaimah who was swept away by the floodwaters in his car.

Dubai International Airport, a major global travel hub, witnessed scenes of chaos as airplanes taxied through deep waters, causing significant delays and disruptions. Local streets were transformed into waterways, with vehicles abandoned as the floodwaters rose. A witness described the scene at the airport as “absolute carnage,” noting the difficulty in obtaining transportation and the people stranded at the metro stations and inside the airport itself.

The rainfall, which began on a Monday night and continued into Tuesday, dumped more than 142mm (5.59 inches) of water on Dubai. This amount is starkly higher than the average annual rainfall of 94.7mm (3.73 inches) recorded at the airport. The storm affected not only the UAE but also neighboring countries, causing fatalities and chaos across the region.

Authorities in Dubai have been criticized for their lack of communication about the extent of the damage, while efforts to manage the crisis included deploying tanker trucks to remove water from flooded areas. Major shopping centers like the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates also experienced flooding, with social media images showing ankle-deep water in places.

The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) addressed speculations that the unusual weather might have been exacerbated by cloud-seeding. Officials confirmed that no seeding operations were conducted before or during the storm, explaining that cloud seeding is ineffective and impractical in such severe weather conditions.

The extreme weather event has reignited discussions about the impacts of climate change, which is believed to increase the frequency and intensity of such occurrences. Experts warn that such extreme weather events will become more common as global temperatures rise, making episodes like the one in the UAE a stark reminder of the changing climate’s impact on our environment.

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