Flights diverted at one of world’s busiest airports after year’s rainfall in a day

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Flights arriving into Dubai airport – the world’s busiest for international travel – are being temporarily diverted this evening to other locations as the city-state is hit by major flooding after heavy rainfall.

More than 120mm (4.7 inches) of rain came down on Tuesday, which is the typical yearly average in the desert nation – with more expected in the coming hours.

Homes and roads were flooded and partially submerged cars were left abandoned.

The tarmac at Dubai International Airport was also flooded as planes made their way around what looked more like a lake.

Image:
Cars hit by flooding in Dubai. Pic: Reuters

Earlier, it was announced airport operations were suspended for 25 minutes due to the bad weather, with at least 21 outbound and 24 inbound flights cancelled during the day, and three flights diverted to other airports.

Despite the disruption, the airport said departure flights were continuing to operate.

There was also heavy rainfall in other parts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

More on Dubai

Sky News weather producer Joanna Robinson said: “Intense showers and thunderstorms have been affecting eastern parts of the Arabian Peninsula and southern Iran today, with further flooding rains possible on Wednesday.

“The risk will also extend into southwestern parts of Pakistan.

“It’s not unusual to see flash flooding events in the United Arab Emirates, it happens most years, but usually between December and March.

“It looks like over 40mm of rain fell at both Dubai airports earlier today, potentially making it the wettest April day in Dubai according to the Met Office.

“Urban areas and baked ground both increase the risk of surface water flooding as the water is unable to soak through the ground easily.”

Image:
A car drives through floodwater on a road following heavy rain in Dubai. Pic: Reuters

Lightning flashed across the sky, and it sometimes touched the tip of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa.

Rain is unusual in the UAE – but it happens periodically during the cooler winter months.

Many roads and other areas have insufficient drainage due to the lack of regular rainfall, causing flooding.

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Police and emergency personnel were seen driving slowly through the flooded streets, and tanker trucks were sent on to the streets to pump away the water.

Rain also fell in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, at least 18 people have died in neighbouring Oman following recent heavy rain.

The victims included 10 schoolchildren and an adult who were swept away in a vehicle.

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