Storm clouds form over Sharjah on Saturday.
Syed Shayaan Bakht, Staff Reporter
A pleasant weather, marked by a steady, intermittent drizzle that tailed an early morning downpour, greeted residents of the UAE on Saturday making the perfect start to 2022.
The UAE has been witnessing heavy rain in some areas since Friday morning accompanied by strong winds that encouraged the people to go out for walks in the parks and tourist areas, as well as the sandy open areas to enjoy the scenic landscape.
Overcast skies and wet roads were the order of the day as the temperature went marginally south. Fresh winds added to the zest of the people who were only too keen to savour the refreshing, enjoyable outdoors rather than remain confined to the four walls of their homes.
Strong winds had a commanding presence in the afternoon. Traffic was slow, but that did not test the patience of the motorists.
The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) indicated that Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah recorded the lowest temperature in the country that reached 7.5ºC on Saturday morning at 07:30 am.
However, the Zipline in RAK was closed due to strong winds.
On Saturday, images posted on social media showed vehicles half-submerged in flooded streets in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi and gusty winds lashing through palm trees lining the cities’ streets.
Popular spots such as the Buhairah Corniche and Sharjah beach saw people capitalising on the opportunity that the change in weather gave.
The weather agency in the UAE said more rain is expected on Sunday.
Social media users expressed mixed feelings about the unusual weather.
"Not #India or #London, this is Dubai today after heavy rain!" wrote one user on Twitter posting a video of cars wading through a flooded street.
The Ministry of Interior called on motorists to be careful while driving and to stay away from rainwater pools and rough seas.
Rain in the emirates of Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Al Ain, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain led to the floods in streets and valleys, filling of dams, and the accumulation of water in the low areas in Wadi Al-Hilu and Wahleh in Fujairah, and Wadi Al-Qur and Wadi Halhal in Ras Al-Khaimah.
The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) revealed that it had carried out 299 cloud seeding operations during 2021, compared to 399 in 2020, at a rate of 2-3 hours per operation, covering most of the country’s regions.
On December 30-31, the NCM carried out 11 operations that contributed to increasing the amount of rain that fell on the country in different regions, where the highest amount of rain recorded during New Year's Eve was 99.2 mm in Seih Al Salam, Dubai.
The NCM also reported that separate areas in the country, in the early hours of the first day of the New Year 2022, witnessed medium to heavy rainfall accompanied by lightning and thunder.
The Center explained that the country is being affected by unstable weather due to an extension of a surface low pressure from Southwest, accompanied with an upper air low pressure from the west.
The National Centre of Meteorology also called the public to exercise caution while driving during rain and the lack of horizontal visibility, caused by rain and winds, advising them to stay away from sloping places and surface run-offs.
The Abu Dhabi Police also called on drivers to be careful due to weather fluctuations and to abide by the variable speed shown on signs and electronic road signs.
The NCM also noted that the weather on Sunday would be partly cloudy to cloudy at times, with convective clouds formation associated with rainfall over some areas especially northern and eastern areas.
Light rain lashed scattered areas of Sharjah and Al Ain while moderate rains lashed the Zayed City in Al Dhafra region and on the island of Abu Dhabi, Bahia, Mussafah, scattered areas of Abu Dhabi and Al Barsha in Dubai. Heavy rains with thunder lashed Jebel Ali in Dubai.
The NCM said Saturday would be cloudy with a chance of scattered rain starting in the morning over the islands, gradually approaching the coasts and the Northern regions in the afternoon.
Rain was witnessed in Jebel Ali in the Emirate of Dubai and on Al Madam in the Emirate of Sharjah. Dibba Al-Fujairah,Khorfakkan also experienced moderate rain.
In Al Khan area, residents were seen fishing and enjoying the cool breeze. Last week the UAE schools went on winter vacation, so families and youngster were seen holding picnic at the corniche, making the most of the pleasant weather.
Hisham Awartani, who is Palestinian-Irish-American, according to the fundraiser, hopes to start his next semester of college on time despite his paralysis, the family's note said.
Schools, colleges, offices and banks were closed on Monday and Tuesday in at least four districts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, because of weather conditions, a government notice said.
The first case admitted to the hospital was 17-year-old Abdul Karim Wael, who was transferred from Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital in Gaza. He suffers from a fracture in the right ankle and an open wound in the right knee.