Dubai shuts down airport as flood takes over runway

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, faced severe disruptions caused by heavy rains, leading to widespread flooding across major highways and impacting operations at the city-state’s primary airport.

The flooding began overnight, turning typically arid streets into vast ponds and affecting airport tarmacs. Dubai International Airport, a crucial global hub for international travel and home to Emirates Airlines, grappled with flight disruptions exacerbated by strong winds accompanying the downpour.

Airport authorities temporarily halted all operations for approximately 25 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, followed by the diversion of incoming flights until weather conditions improved, as communicated through official social media channels.

By evening, the UAE had experienced over 4.75 inches of rainfall, a volume usually seen over a year in the desert nation, with more precipitation expected in the coming hours. Rainfall was also reported in nearby Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, indicating the storm’s widespread impact across the region.

In Oman, on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, the National Committee for Emergency Management confirmed the tragic toll of the heavy rains. At least 18 fatalities were recorded, including approximately 10 schoolchildren who tragically lost their lives on Monday after being swept away in a vehicle along with an adult.

This incident underscores the growing frequency and severity of extreme weather events linked to human-induced climate change, a concern echoed by climatologists globally.

Beyond the Arabian Peninsula, regions like southern Russia and Central Asia have grappled with similarly devastating weather patterns, marked by unusually high rainfall and snowmelt. These conditions have necessitated the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and resulted in fatalities, including over 60 deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As communities worldwide confront the consequences of climate change-induced weather extremes, the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate the impact and adapt to evolving environmental challenges becomes increasingly apparent.

In November 2023, the COP28 conference on climate change took place in Dubai, sparking significant discussions and debate, particularly considering Dubai’s status as one of the top 10 oil-producing countries.

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