Too Much Water: The Heaviest Rain for 75 Years in Dubai

9:56 pm  |  20.04.2024

Recently there was heavy rain in Dubai: the norm for six months of rainfall fell in one day. Schools were switched to distance learning, flights were canceled or moved to other airports. It became impossible to use ground transport for a certain time.

New Record: This Time It’s Not Architecture

On April 16, more than 254 mm of rain fell in the United Arab Emirates. This is the highest figure in the last 75 years.

Dubai experienced 142 mm of rainfall. For comparison, the average annual rainfall for Dubai is 130 mm. More than the annual norm fell in one day.

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On average, it rains only 25 days a year in Dubai. Lately, precipitation has been occurring more frequently and in greater quantities. Scientists say the reason is that the climate is changing.

Due to bad weather, roads in Dubai were flooded. The water even entered the largest shopping center, the Dubai Mall. Schools have switched to distance learning. Flights were moved to neighboring airports or canceled. In some areas, metro service was suspended.

There is so much water that the roads have turned into rivers. Drivers had to abandon their vehicles.

Cause of the Problem 

The United Arab Emirates is a country with a hot, arid climate. Precipitation is rare here, only a few times a year, so the city infrastructure is not designed for heavy rains.

There are drainage systems in the city, contrary to popular belief. As of 2020, Dubai has 61 rainwater pumping stations and more than 72 thousand storm drains.

But here’s the caveat: any drainage network has limits that cannot be crossed. The drainage system in Dubai was designed according to international standards based on rainfall.

The drainage system in Dubai functions properly as long as the rainfall does not exceed limits. Just like in any other country. If the rain becomes heavy, it can lead to problems, this is what happened during the heavy rain on April 16. Therefore, during heavy rainfall, the city cannot immediately cope with a large amount of water.

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UAE authorities are taking measures to speed up the drainage of rainwater. For example, they are developing rainwater drainage stations, increasing the capacity of systems, and changing manhole covers to those through which water can pass.

The authorities also plan to install several pumping stations for rainwater in places where moisture does not drain well after precipitation.

How Dubai Сopes with the Уffects of Кain

If there was heavy rain in Dubai yesterday, any trace of it will disappear in a few days. Because special services are trying to return the city to normal life as quickly as possible.

The primary drainage of rainwater is carried out by a drainage system, which is found in almost all areas of the city.

If the rain is heavy and the drainage system cannot cope, people come to the rescue. Dubai Municipality has working groups with tanks and mobile pumps. Specialists go to the site and pump out the water.

Then the collected rainwater is reused for irrigation. Dubai authorities are trying to monitor the environment and save resources.

On the second day after the rain, the Mohammed bin Zayed Highway, which was partially flooded, was almost dry. But moving around the city was still difficult.

Some companies that are not special services are also trying to help those affected by heavy rain. For example, the construction company Emaar. The developer said it will renovate free of charge all properties in its projects in Dubai that were damaged due to bad weather.

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• Follow the news and listen to the recommendations of security services sent to your mobile phone. Some news was published on the RTA Twitter account, and sometimes they even answered questions from Dubai residents.

• Do not leave your home if there is a storm warning.

• Stay away from windows. Rains in Dubai are often accompanied by strong winds that can break windows.

• Avoid standing near tall trees or going to the beach during a thunderstorm.

How to Behave on the Roads:

• Plan your route, avoiding areas prone to flooding or heavy congestion.

• Do not speed or pass other vehicles.

• Maintain a safe distance.

• If water reaches the bumper, take your time. And if it’s even higher, look for another way.
The main emergency number in Dubai is 800900. If you notice that water is accumulating somewhere, call, a working group will come to the site and pump out the water.

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