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Flash floods

At least one dead after heavy rains set off flash floods in UAE

At least one dead after heavy rains set off flash floods in UAE
Motorists drive during a heavy rainfall in the road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 16 April 2024. A severe wave of thunderstorms with heavy rainfall is hitting most UAE's cities especially in Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain where the Asian Champions League semi final first leg match between UAE's Al-Ain Club and Al-Hilal from Saudi Arabia has been postponed. EPA-EFE/ALI HAIDER

DUBAI, April 17 (Reuters) - Authorities and communities across the United Arab Emirates were clearing debris on Wednesday after a torrential downpour killed at least one person and caused damage to homes and businesses.

The UAE witnessed a record rainfall with 254 mm falling in Al Ain on Tuesday in less than 24 hours, according to the national meteorology centre. That was the most since records began in 1949, before the country was established in 1971.

Although heavy rains had eased by late Tuesday, disruptions were continuing on Wednesday with Emirates airline suspending check-in for passengers departing Dubai airport until midnight.

Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, said it was facing significant disruptions after the heavy rains delayed or diverted flights and had impacted flight crews.

Passengers departing Dubai were advised against heading to the airport and to check their flight status with their airline.

“We are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions,” the airport wrote on X.

Emirates said passengers who were already in transit would continue to be processed but warned that delays to departures and arrivals should be expected. The Dubai airport website showed hours-long delays for some arrival and departure flights.

Local media reported that an elderly Emirati man in his 70s died on Tuesday morning when his vehicle was caught in flash floods in the Ras Al Khaimah emirate, in the country’s north.

In neighbouring Oman, 19 people died, including school children after three consecutive days of heavy rain, according to Omani media, which published images of flooded communities.

The Times of Oman reported that more rain was expected on Wednesday. In Dubai, the skies were clear but in some areas the roads were quiet after the government ordered its employees and all schools to work remotely for a second consecutive day.

UAE media and social media posts showed significant damage from the torrential downpour in some parts of the country, including collapsed roads and homes inundated by water.

Social media posts on Tuesday showed flooded roads and car parks with some vehicles completely submerged. Sheikh Zayed Road, a 12-lane highway through Dubai, was partially flooded, leaving people stuck in a kilometres-long traffic jam for hours.

(Reporting by Clauda Tanios and Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Tom Hogue and Shri Navaratnam)

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