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Unprecedented Rainfall Submerges Arid Dubai in Floodwaters for the First Time in Years

Dubai was inundated by a deluge of rain, equivalent to a year’s worth of precipitation, resulting in widespread flash flooding that transformed roads into rivers and submerged homes and businesses.

Startling footage captured the extent of the flooding, with Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports, resembling a waterlogged expanse. The airport’s tarmac was submerged, challenging aircraft maneuverability and causing significant disruption to flight operations. Several airlines, including Emirates, experienced delays and cancellations, prompting the suspension of check-in services and advisories urging passengers to avoid unnecessary travel to the airport.

Stranded travelers recounted tales of spending the night at the airport due to limited transport options amid the chaos. With nearly 4 inches (100 mm) of rain falling within a mere 12-hour span—comparable to the city’s average annual rainfall—motorists were compelled to abandon vehicles as roads transformed into raging torrents.

Videos circulated on social media depicted water surging through shopping malls and inundating ground-level residences, highlighting the severity of the flooding. Dubai’s arid climate typically sees infrequent rainfall, and its limited drainage infrastructure struggles to cope with such extreme weather events.

The downpour, a consequence of a broader storm system traversing the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf of Oman, is indicative of the heightened frequency of torrential rainfall events attributable to human-induced climate change. As global temperatures rise, the atmosphere’s capacity to absorb moisture increases, culminating in intensified and prolonged periods of precipitation.

While rain is anticipated to subside in the coming days, residual showers may persist before conditions return to normal. The inclement weather extends beyond Dubai, impacting neighboring regions such as Oman and southeastern Iran, underscoring the widespread influence of the prevailing storm system.

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