The recent heavy rainfall in Saudi Arabia has brought back memories from 1956 when the rainfall lasted for 58 days in a row.
Back then, the rainfall flooded valleys while houses, mosques and shops collapsed as most of them, if not all, were made of clay. People had to leave their houses and sought refuge in high areas. They used whatever carpets and rugs they had and hanged them on tree branches to protect themselves from rainfall.
It was dubbed “the destructive” year.
The areas which were harmed the most by this rainfall were Qassim, Sudair, Buraydah and neighboring cities and towns. Late Sheikh Ibrahim bin Obeid al-Abedulmohsen was present in Buraydah at the time and he documented what happened.
“In 1376 hijri (1956), rain fell in Qassim and lasted for five days in a row. It did not stop raining and rooftops began to collapse as a result,” he wrote in his book Time Incidents.
According to Abedulmohsen, people only entered their homes to take food, and the government sent tents and food supplies. During two months, the sun was only spotted twice.
“We estimate the number of houses which collapsed in Buraydah at 3,000. Wadi al-Rummah flooded and it only flooded when rainfall was very heavy,” he added.
Abedulmohsen said that the town of Asyah, where more than 13 valleys flow, witnessed 58 days of rainfall, adding that many people sought refuge in the wilderness while many others were besieged by the floods and it was thus difficult to deliver food supplies and many houses collapsed on people’s heads.