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UAE hit with severe flooding as record rainfall disrupts Dubai flights

People wade through submerged street after heavy rain in United Arab Emirates on April 16, 2024. 

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

DUBAI — One of the world’s busiest airports temporarily halted operations as the United Arab Emirates experienced its heaviest rainfall on record.

The downpour prompted flight cancellations and delays at Dubai’s international airport, with travelers stranded for hours in both the terminal and on the tarmac, which appeared to be underwater in footage seen by CNBC. The airport said road blockages and flooding have prevented many passengers from reaching the airport for departing flights.

Dubai Airports has advised passengers not to go to the airport “unless absolutely necessary.” A spokesperson said that “flights continue to be delayed and diverted.”

Emirates airline suspended check-in for all flights departing from Dubai between 8 a.m. local time to midnight on Wednesday. Fly Dubai, a budget carrier owned by the government of Dubai, has also suspended all flights from the UAE hub until 10 a.m. local time on April 17, citing extreme weather.

The National Centre of Meteorology confirmed the highest level of rainfall in the country in the eastern emirate of Al Ain, which reached 254.8 mm (10 inches) in less than 24 hours. The UAE saw over 100 mm of rain, a 75 year record since the UAE began recording rainfall.

The government issued a red warning, shuttering offices, school and banks across the country. The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Authority warned residents to stay home and park vehicles in elevated spots away from flood-prone areas. It also advised people to take preventative measures to avoid property damage from heavy rain and hailstorms.

Vehicles on flooded streets due to heavy rain in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on April 16, 2024.

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

The main road connecting Dubai to the capital, Abu Dhabi, was gridlocked due to flooding. Dubai’s metro and mall both flooded, and cars were seen floating down roads in many parts of the country in videos seen by CNBC.

The storms hit other parts of the Middle East, with reports at least 18 dead in Oman due to flooding.


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