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Amid global heatwaves, UAE bracing for another wet spell after Fujairah floods

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As parts of the planet fights forest fires and scorching heatwaves, the normally arid UAE is bracing for more weird wet weather and storms as forecasters predict days of rainfall, just weeks after the country recorded deadly flash floods.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), this week staged an emergency meeting with the National Centre of Meteorology, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, to ensure the country is prepared for more heavy rainfall expected from Sunday.

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“The meeting comes as part of a series of coordination and follow-up meetings between all concerned authorities to ensure the country’s readiness to withstand the weather situation and limit its effects and aftermaths,” it said in a statement.”

“All local and national teams are highly prepared to ensure an effective and proper response to any risks that may arise as a result of the condition.”

NCEMA said in its latest five-day forecast that heavy downpours are expected across the country from Sunday until Thursday.

“The country will be affected during the period by an extension of surface low pressure system extending from the east towards the west,” it said.

“This will be accompanied by an upper air low pressure system leading to the flow of moist air mass from the Arabian Sea and Oman Sea towards the area and the country, developing and forming some rainy convective clouds over some areas, especially Eastern and Southern areas of the country.”

NCEMA said there is chance of conform convective clouds formation accompanied with rainfall of different intensities between moderate to heavy at times may be associated with thunder and lightning over some Eastern areas, Al Ain, and its southern areas.

This may expand to some internal areas and Western areas with a decrease in temperatures.

It also warned of strong winds with convective clouds causing blowing dust and sand reducing the horizontal visibility.

Deadly floods

In July, heavy downpours forced the UAE to battle floods as it recorded its wettest weather in decades.

In the UAE, more than 800 people were rescued and 3,800 were placed in temporary accommodation after last week’s deadly floods, which left seven dead, and parts of eastern region – most prominently Fujairah - facing a massive clean-up operation.

General view of flood water following a day of heavy rain in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi
General view of flood water following a day of heavy rain in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi



Earlier this month, in an interview with Al Arabiya English, Ahmed Habib, of the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology (NCM), warned that the region should prepare for more rainfall in August as seasonal changes in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) – the region that circles the Earth, near the equator, where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together – are behind the unusual summer climate.

Habib also said this was coupled with Indian monsoons that led to a northward shift in the low-pressure systems that create monsoon rains.

Abu Dhabi Media Office issue an alert on Friday calling for people to exercise caution during challenging weather conditions.

General view of flood water following a day of heavy rain in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, July 28, 2022. (Reuters)
General view of flood water following a day of heavy rain in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, July 28, 2022. (Reuters)

It said the emirate was expected to receive "mild to heavy rains" along with a significant drop in temperatures from Sunday until Thursday, August 18.

Global heatwaves

The UAE’s unusual weather spell comes as countries across the global battle a prolonged period of hot and dry weather.

Last month marked one of the three hottest Julys ever recorded, with global temperatures measuring nearly half a degree above average, the United Nations’ weather agency said, with more hot spells forecasted.

On Friday, the UK officially declared a drought in parts of England on as households faced new curbs on water usage during a prolonged heatwave that has kindled wildfires and tested infrastructure.

Britain’s July heatwave also caused rail tracks to buckle, melted airport runways and sparked dozens of grass fires, resulting in the busiest week for London’s fire service since World War Two.

A cyclist rides through Richmond Park at sunrise during a heatwave in London, Britain, July 18, 2022. (Reuters)
A cyclist rides through Richmond Park at sunrise during a heatwave in London, Britain, July 18, 2022. (Reuters)

Europe is also battling another heatwave, with temperatures reaching 34-38 degrees (93-100 degrees Fahrenheit) across Western Europe this week.

Last week, more than 1,000 firefighters backed by water-bombing aircraft battled a “monster” wildfire near France’s wine-growing heartland of Bordeaux after a build-up in blistering temperatures.

A firefighting truck works to contain a fire in Saint-Magne, as wildfires continue to spread in the Gironde region of southwestern France, August 11, 2022. (File photo: Reuters)
A firefighting truck works to contain a fire in Saint-Magne, as wildfires continue to spread in the Gironde region of southwestern France, August 11, 2022. (File photo: Reuters)



Elsewhere, firefighters in the US battled California's largest fire this year in July, halting its eastward expansion toward nearby Yosemite National Park, as extremely hot and dry weather fueled its galloping pace through dry forest and underbrush.

A historic heat wave affected the Midwestern United States and Southeastern United States in the second week of June 2022. In Phoenix, a daily record was tied, with temperatures of 46 °C (114 °F). In North Platte, Nebraska, a record temperature of 42 °C (108 °F) was recorded.

In Death Valley, a man died when trying to refuel gas as temperatures climbed to 51 °C (123 °F). Temperatures in Memphis soared to 37 °C (98 °F), with a heat index of 43 °C (110 °F). This forced over 125 million people under excessive heat warnings

China has also suffered several heat wave from July, with temperatures reaching 50 °C (122 °F), while, starting in late March India and Pakistan began experiencing one of the hottest March–April periods on record. At least 90 people were killed by the heat wave; 25 in India and 65 in Pakistan.

Read more:

Last month marked one of hottest Julys ever recorded: UN

UAE, Saudi thunderstorms: Experts explain the reason behind the GCC’s wet weather

UAE: Seven people dead after floods hit Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah

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