top of page

Dubai Hit by Floods

Dubai, a city that is home to many millionaires, is known for its skyscrapers, extravagant shopping, food, hot weather, developed technology, deserts, and expensive architectural projects. However, the hot weather part may not be entirely accurate anymore as it recently experienced a year's worth of rain in a short amount of time, turning roads into rivers and flooding homes and businesses. It’s safe to say that the millionaires of Dubai were forced to use their jet skis rather than their luxurious cars to go from one place to another.

The flooding proved to humanity for the millionth time that climate change is no joke, and humanity is still not fully prepared for it, as we haven’t even solved a simple problem: effective drainage systems. The latest incident in Dubai was the heaviest rain ever recorded in the country in the span of a couple of hours. It resulted in major highways and Dubai’s international airport, which was recently crowned the second busiest airport in the world, to flood. Some news outlets even called the rain “a historic weather event” that exceeded “anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949”. This occurred before the discovery of crude oil in Dubai, then part of a British protectorate known as the Trucial States. Later, Dubai transformed into the energy-rich nation we know today.

On late April 15, rain began in Dubai, drenching the sands and roads with approximately 20 millimeters (0.79 inches) of rain, as indicated by meteorological data gathered at Dubai International Airport. The intensity of the storms grew around 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday and persisted throughout the day, resulting in additional rain and hail falling on the city.

By the end of Tuesday, Dubai experienced more than 142 millimeters (5.59 inches) of rainfall in just 24 hours. Typically, the city sees an average of 94.7 millimeters (3.73 inches) of rain at Dubai International Airport, which is the world's busiest airport for international travel and a major hub for Emirates Airlines.

Due to the heavy rainfall, there was standing water on the airport's taxiways as planes landed, and the airport had to halt all arrivals on Tuesday night. Passengers struggled to reach the airport terminals through the surrounding roads, which were flooded with water.

A couple, who preferred not to reveal their identity to The Associated Press due to strict laws that prohibit critical speech, described the situation at the airport as "absolute carnage". The man commented on the events on Wednesday saying, "You cannot get a taxi. There are people sleeping in the Metro station. There are people sleeping in the airport". The couple managed to get a taxi that took them to their home, which was about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away. However, they were unable to proceed due to floodwater on the road. Fortunately, a bystander helped them get over a highway barrier along with their carry-on luggage, while the gin bottles they had purchased from duty-free rattled away.

On Wednesday morning, Dubai International Airport confirmed that the flooding had caused problems with transportation and flight schedules. The airfield was inaccessible to aircraft crews due to the flooding. The airport shared on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, that it would take some time to recover from the disruption. They expressed gratitude for the passengers’ patience and understanding while they worked to overcome these challenges.

Law enforcement and first responders cautiously navigated the submerged roads of Dubai. On Tuesday, lightning intermittently illuminated the sky, sometimes striking the pinnacle of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. The automated Metro system of the city experienced interruptions and inundated stations as a result of the flooding.

Schools in the UAE, a group of seven sheikhdoms, closed down before the storm, and most government employees worked from home if possible. While some workers remained at home, others went out, and unfortunately, some of them got stuck in their vehicles due to water levels being deeper than anticipated on certain roads.

The leaders who inherited power in the nation did not provide any information about the damage or injuries caused by the floods, as some people had to spend the night in their flooded cars on Tuesday. The police in Ras al-Khaimah, which is the northernmost emirate of the country, reported that a 70-year-old man lost his life after his vehicle was washed away by the floodwaters.

According to a statement released on Tuesday by Oman's National Committee for Emergency Management, heavy rains in the neighboring sultanate of Oman, which lies on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, have claimed the lives of at least 18 people in recent days. Among the victims were 10 schoolchildren who were swept away in a vehicle along with an adult. The tragedy has prompted condolences from leaders across the region.

In the UAE, a dry country located on the Arabian Peninsula, it's rare to experience rainfall, although it does happen sporadically during the cooler winter season. In many parts of the country, there is a lack of drainage systems because of the infrequency of rainfall, which can lead to flooding, just as it happened recently.

The tragic event, which resulted in deaths, turned into material for jokes on social media as users living in Dubai started documenting their daily lives and taking videos of them trying to get rid of the water inside their houses. As the urgency of addressing climate change becomes increasingly clear to humanity, people are seeking comfort in humor as a coping mechanism.


bottom of page