Cataclysmic UAE weather: Dubai airport flooded, Al Ain road turns into waterfall

Flooded Dubai airport
An aircraft at the flooded Dubai International Airport on April 17, 2024. Screenshot courtesy: X/@IrnaEnglish

In the normally dry, sunny and sandy nation of the United Arab Emirates, rain and fog do make a seasonal appearance. However, these past 24 hours or so have seen nearly cataclysmic weather in the UAE, with the country battered by storm and thundershowers on a scale not seen in seven decades.

Videos from the UAE shared on social media by individuals and media brands have shown a completely flooded Dubai International Airport; a stretch of road in Al Ain, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, collapsed and looking like a waterfall; and vehicles being tossed about in the rainwater.

One of the social media videos revealed the surreal sight of pieces of furniture flying out of a highrise balcony in Dubai, as if they were feather weight.

Right next to the UAE is the sultanate of Oman, from where massive floods have also been reported. An estimated 18 people have died in the flash floods in Oman.

The Dubai-headquartered publication Gulf News today reported large-scale flight cancellations by the UAE’s full-service flagship carriers Emirates and Etihad, and the popular budget airline flydubai.

A flydubai spokesperson was quoted by GN as saying, “The severe weather conditions are expected to continue throughout the night and into tomorrow (17 April).”

Emirates and Etihad asked their passengers to monitor the airline websites for flight news updates.

Gulf News said today: “The UAE experienced its heaviest rainfall in history over the past 24 hours, surpassing all records since data collection began in 1949. This historic downpour affected many regions across the country. The National Centre of Meteorology confirmed this unprecedented event, stating that even greater rainfall amounts are expected in the hours ahead.”

Incidentally, while it was being hit by the storm of the century, the Dubai International Airport (DXB) also retained its No. 1 global status in terms of international passenger traffic.

Yesterday, the Airports Council International unveiled the list of Top 10 busiest airports worldwide for 2023, and DXB once again came out at the very top.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said, “While this milestone was greatly anticipated, its official confirmation instils us with great pride. DXB is proud to uphold its status as the world’s foremost international airport for an unparalleled 10 years.”