Extreme rainfall events wreak havoc across the Middle East

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The Middle East has been hit by several waves of severe storms over the past 30+ days and registered anomalously high amounts of rain in very short periods. For some of the regions, the storms were the worst in decades. More than 50 people were killed.

Severe storm brought very heavy rain and strong winds to the United Arab Emirates on November 11, 2018, causing traffic chaos and power outages. 

In just one hour, weather station located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai recorded 49.4 mm (1.94 inches) of rain. According to local forecasters, this is what the region usually receives in 8 months.

Extreme weather caused traffic chaos, caused power cuts and let to a high-profile concert being called off, The National reports. Strong winds broke tree branches, peeled roofs off garages, and blew sand and debris from construction sites into the streets.

An emergency alert was sent out to mobile phones, warning residents to stay indoors for their safety.

The same storm that hit UAE over the weekend, dropped almost 6 months’ worth of rain on parts of Qatar, according to Qatar Meteorology Department. Northwestern part of the country received almost 31 mm (1.2 inches) of rainfall, compared to the emirate’s annual rainfall of 77 mm (3.0 inches). One person was killed.

However, this weather event was not as extreme as last month when Qatar was hit by floods which saw more than a year’s rain in one day.

Jordan was also heavily affected over the past weekend. Floods took away at least 12 lives and forced authorities to evacuate nearly 4 000 people from the ancient city of Petra – country’s biggest tourist attraction.

Heavy rains and flood affecting at least 10 provinces of Iran over the past 7 days forced authorities to send out rescue crews to thousands of rescue interventions. At least 5 people lost their lives after flooding hit Mazandaran province at the beginning of October.

The second half of October brought some of the worst weather events Saudi Arabia has seen in decades. At least 14 people were killed and hundreds more left stranded due to floods.

At least 21 people were killed and 35 injured after the first intense storm of the season hit parts of Jordan at the end of October. 

Flash flood in Zarqa-Maeen Valley, whose water channels into the Dead Sea, had surged for up to 5 km (3.1 miles), sweeping away a bus with 39 students and 7 adults traveling back from the Zarqa-Maeen hot springs. At least 18 of them died, along with at least 3 others who were picnicking at the popular tourist spot.

Deadly flash floods also affected Kuwait on several occasions, damaging roads, bridges and homes. Several oil firms and ministries announced a state of emergency.

Flash floods in Kuwait on November 10 killed one person and swept away numerous vehicles. AFP said flash floods particularly affected newly-build residential areas.

At least 3 people have been killed and dozens were injured after Tropical Cyclone “Luban” made landfall between Mukalla and Al Ghaidahnear, Yemen’s Al Mahrah province last month. The worst of the rain hit coastal areas of Yemen and Oman, where up to 263 mm (10.35 inches) of rainfall fell in 24 hours of October 14. That’s several years’ worth of rain.

Featured image credit: CGTN

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