Freak storms leave UAE desert white under blanket of hail

The roads were hit by chaotic scenes with police recording more than 750 road smashes

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The UAE has been hit by a sandstorm, rain and even hail today – and the forecasters are warning there could be more to come.

In one part of the desert country in the emirate Ras Al Khaimah - better known for its long, hot stifling summers – a soaking 38.2 mm of rain fell, according to local press reports.

The roads were hit by chaotic scenes with police recording more than 750 road smashes, and at least three people killed, as inexperienced motorists, unfamiliar with the dangers posed by slippery surfaces caused by high rainfall, failed to heed warnings.

Social media was flooded with images of the extreme conditions, including many that appeared to show snow in the desert.

But a spokesman for the National Center for Meteorology and Seismology told local press: “Due to the intensity of the hail storm that struck parts of Abu Dhabi and continues to do so, it appears that it may have snowed. But what you see is intense hail.”

Out at sea there were treacherous conditions with massive waves making conditions impassable for small craft.

With little or no storm drainage system in the nation’s streets, roads became impassable under the deluge of rain.

Police issued warnings of dangerous driving conditions, but there were still a number road smashes on the UAE’s highways.

Forecasters have warned there’s more to come over the next few hours. But they say conditions are likely to clear with temperatures reaching about 23C across the emirates.

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