Tue. May 28th, 2024

Record rain and storm damages: Dubai’s historic flooding in pictures

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May27,2024
Key Points
  • It’s believed the flooding could have been caused by cloud-seeding flights.
  • More than 142mm of rainfall soaked Dubai over 24 hours.
  • Flights were disrupted, with aircraft crews unable to reach the airfield.
The desert country of the United Arab Emirates is trying to dry out from its heaviest rainfall ever recorded, after a deluge flooded Dubai Airport, disrupting flights through the world’s busiest airfield for international travel.

The state-run WAM news agency called the rain “a historic weather event” that surpassed “anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949” — before the discovery of crude oil in the energy-rich region, then part of a British protectorate known as the Trucial States.

Lighting seen in the distance in Dubai.

One possible contributor may have been cloud seeding, in which small planes operated by the government fly through clouds burning special salt flares. Source: AAP / Ali Haider

Several reports quoted meteorologists at the National Centre for Meteorology as saying they flew six or seven cloud-seeding flights before the rains.

Flight-tracking data analysed by the Associated Press showed one aircraft affiliated with the UAE’s cloud-seeding efforts flew around the country on Monday.
The National, an English-language state-linked newspaper in Abu Dhabi, quoted an anonymous official at the centre saying no cloud seeding took place on Tuesday, without acknowledging any earlier flights.

The rains started late on Monday, soaking the sands and roadways of Dubai with 20mm of rain, according to meteorological data collected at Dubai International Airport.

The storms intensified at about 9am on Tuesday and continued throughout the day, dumping more rain and hail onto the overwhelmed city.
In an average year, 94.7mm of rain falls at Dubai International Airport, a hub for the long-haul carrier Emirates.

Arrivals were halted on Tuesday night, and passengers struggled to reach terminals through the floodwater covering surrounding roads.

Cars stranded in flooded waters.

One couple, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, to speak freely in a country with strict laws that criminalise critical speech, called the situation at the airport “absolute carnage”. Source: Getty / Anadolu

Dubai International Airport acknowledged on Wednesday morning that the flooding had left “limited transportation options” and affected flights as aircraft crews could not reach the airfield.

Emirates said the airline had halted check-in for passengers departing from Dubai from 8am until midnight on Wednesday as it tried to clear the airport of transit passengers — many of whom had been sleeping where they could in its cavernous terminals.

Passengers on FlyDubai, Emirates’ low-cost sister airline, also faced disruptions.

Paul Griffiths, the airport’s CEO, acknowledged continued issues with flooding on Wednesday morning, saying every place an aircraft could be safely parked was taken.

“It remains an incredibly challenging time. In living memory, I don’t think anyone has ever seen conditions like it,” Griffiths told the state-owned talk radio station Dubai Eye.

People gathered to listen to staff at the airport.

Some aircraft had been diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, the city-state’s second airfield. Source: AAP / PA/Alamy

“We are in uncharted territory, but I can assure everyone we are working as hard as we possibly can to make sure our customers and staff are looked after.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Record rain and storm damages: Dubai’s historic flooding in pictures”
  1. Could the cloud-seeding flights actually be responsible for the historic flooding in Dubai?

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