Heavy rainfall creates makeshift lakes in Saudi Arabia, draws jet skiers

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Jet skiers and horse riders have been spotted making the most of temporary lakes and rivers created in Saudi Arabia’s Wadi al-Rummah after the recent downpours across the Kingdom.

Heavy rainfall that has lashed parts of the Kingdom have created a rare vast lake which normally lies barren amid Saudi Arabia’s arid climate.

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But downfalls – which shut schools and prompted a warning from authorities for people to stay indoors - swelled water levels across the wadi – now drawing hundreds of people across the country to the site of the overflowing reservoir.

Images and videos circulating on social media show Saudi nationals flocking to the wadi - one of the Arabian Peninsula’s longest river valleys – to take advantage of the inland lake.

People seen enjoying at Saudi Arabia's Wadi al-Rummah with various apparatus. (Screengrab)
People seen enjoying at Saudi Arabia's Wadi al-Rummah with various apparatus. (Screengrab)

Jet skiers were seen zooming across the water to cheers from onlookers, while others were spotted on makeshift boats rowing across the lake.

Some took to horseback to wade into the wadi while others were spotted kites-surfing across the water.

Other videos on social media showed highways and roads leading to the wadi backed up as hundreds of motorists attempted to get to the makeshift lake.

Geological studies show that Wadi al-Rummah flows at full capacity about three times every 100 years. It flowed most recently in 1945, 1982, 1987, 2004, 2008 and 2018. In 1818, the river valley was flooded for 40 days, in 1838 for 22 days, in 1987 and 2008 for 17 days.

In 1838 the wadi overflowed, creating a 200-square-mile (520 square kilometer) lake that persisted for two years and attracted water birds which had rarely been seen in the valley.

In early January, Saudi Arabia’s National Center of Meteorology announced that torrential thundershowers, accompanied by strong winds, fell on parts of Mecca, Jeddah, Rabigh, Taif, Jamum, al-Kamil, Bahra, Khulais, al-Laith, al-Qunfudhah, al-Ardiyat, Adham al-Baha, and Asir. Heavy downpours also affected Medina, al-Qassim, and Riyadh

Snow even blanketed Saudi Arabia’s northern region of Tabuk as temperatures plummeted across the country.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia’s meteorology center warns of severe weather conditions

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