Scots expat in Dubai describes 'apocalyptic' scenes amid deadly rainfall

Lindsay Johnston, from Aberdeen, said it was 'bizarre' to watch a year's worth of rain fall on Dubai in just 12 hours.

Aberdeen expat in Dubai describes ‘apocalyptic’ scenes amid deadly rainfall STV News

A Scottish expat living in the United Arab Emirates has compared the record-breaking rainfall in Dubai to the “apocalypse”.

Lindsay Johnston, from Aberdeen, said it was “bizarre” to witness the extreme amounts of rain and flooding hit the desert city.

Around 20 people have reportedly been killed as deadly rainfall takes over the Gulf states.

A year’s worth of rain fell on Dubai in 12 hours – by the end of Tuesday more than 5.59 inches (142mm) of rainfall; an average year sees 3.73 inches (86mm) of rain.

The state-run WAM news agency called the rain “a historic weather event” that surpassed “anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The rain prompted widespread flooding in Dubai.AP

Ms Johnston has lived in the Dubai for 17 years.

“It was quite surreal honestly,” she told STV News.

“We don’t get a huge amount of extreme weather so it was quite bizarre watching this black cloud rolling in and everyone was communicating on WhatsApp and keeping each other in the loop about what was happening in their part.

“There was definitely a sense of batten down the hatches and prepare for the apocalypse.

“It really was quite something to see.”

Ms Johnston said the weather caught many in the country by surprise.

“I get the impression we were all quite shocked by just how bad it was,” she said.

“I saw a report that it was 250mm of rainfall in one day which is more than ever has been recorded.

“The UK average in London is something like 50mm a month. It was five times that amount so you can really imagine the aftermath.

“I think this is a once in a lifetime event. Maybe I am being naïve but I don’t think we need to worry too much.

“I do think this is a one-off, unprecedented event.

“I’ve lived here for 17 years. We are well equippted to deal with 40 plus degrees in the summers but not this very heavy rainfall.”

The weather prompted Emirates to cancel all flights from Dubai on Tuesday.AP

Earlier on Wednesday, Emirates announced it had cancelled all flights from Dubai in the midst of the “historic weather event”, leaving many Scots stranded.

Floods descended upon Dubai International Airport on Wednesday, disrupting flights through the world’s busiest hub for international travel.

Dubai International Airport acknowledged that the flooding had left “limited transportation options” and affected flights as aircraft crews were unable to reach the airfield.

Recovery will take some time,” the airport said on X. “We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through these challenges.”

One reason for the acute rain in the UAE may have been “cloud seeding”, in which small planes flown by the government go through clouds burning special salt flares. Those flares can increase precipitation.

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

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