Dubai left underwater as fierce storm hits millionaires' playground with roads, airports and shopping malls submerged

17 April 2024, 03:10 | Updated: 17 April 2024, 03:57

Heavy rains lashed the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday
Heavy rains lashed the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. Picture: Supplied/Alamy

By StephenRigley

Torrential rain and violent thunderstorms in Dubai have led to planes swimming in floodwater and shopping malls being swamped.

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Footage showed luxury cars submerged in deep water and waves buffeting the traffic while high-end muscle cars and Teslas struggled through the floods.

City authorities advised people to stay home after more than 4.7ins of rain fell on Tuesday - the typical yearly average in the city.

Nearly 50 flights in and out of Dubai were cancelled as a result, with aircrafts seen cutting through water at Dubai International Airport - the world's busiest for international travel.

The airport later announced that all arriving flights would be diverted until the end of the day.

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Dubai hit by mass flooding after year's worth of rainfall in a day

Shopping malls were left swamped too, with visitors seen wading through water at the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.

The city's skies turned dark mid-afternoon as the weather worsened.

Lightning could be seen flashing across the sky, occasionally touching the tip of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.

Men gesture as they try to tow a vehicle out of standing water in Dubai
Men gesture as they try to tow a vehicle out of standing water in Dubai. Picture: Alamy
A man tries to work on his stalled SUV in standing water in Dubai
A man tries to work on his stalled SUV in standing water in Dubai. Picture: Alamy

Schools across the UAE were largely shut ahead of the storm and government employees worked remotely.

But locals still weren't safe as patio furniture flew through the streets due to the strong winds.

Meanwhile, authorities sent tanker trucks out into the streets to pump away the water.

One entrepreneur shared a clip on X of him trapped in his Rolls Royce in the flooded streets.

"My Rolls Royce got flooded and we're stuck in the middle of the road in Dubai," he said. 

"Just like all my friends in crypto... today I am underwater."

People were also seen wading through ankle-deep water in the Onpassive Metro station, with bus services set up to help those who were stranded.

Unstable weather conditions are expected to continue in the region through to Wednesday, UAE's National Center of Meteorology said.

Rain is unusual in the UAE, but occurs periodically during the cooler winter months. Many roads and other areas lack drainage given the lack of regular rainfall, causing flooding.

Dubai hit by mass flooding after year's worth of rainfall in a day

Rain also fell in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In neighbouring Oman at least 18 people have been killed in heavy rains in recent days, according to a statement on Tuesday from the country's National Committee for Emergency Management.

That includes some 10 schoolchildren swept away in a vehicle with an adult.

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