Dubai Grinds to Standstill as Cloud Seeding Worsens Flooding

The torrential rains that swept across the United Arab Emirates forced flight cancellations and closed schools. They also brought traffic to a halt.

Cloud seeding was responsible for the heavy rains and flooding that swept across the desert nation. Since 2002, the UAE has carried out cloud seeding to combat water security concerns.

Ahmed Habib is a meteorologist who works for the National Center of Meteorology of the Gulf State. He said that on Monday and Tuesday, planes were dispatched from Al Ain Airport to seed clouds to take advantage of convective formations. On Wednesday, the NCM confirmed that seeding took place on Sunday and Tuesday. Cloud seeding is the process of injecting tiny particles and chemicals, often salts like potassium chloride, into the air to encourage more rain.

Dubai’s Media Office on Tuesday, despite the fact that many houses were flooded and swimming pools overflowed due to the rains, referred to the downpours as “rains for goodness” – despite the threat of a rise in heat-related death in the UAE.

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Habib, NCM, says that the latest storms are a result of heavy rains in early this year. He added that the seeding planes had flown seven missions.

He said, “Make an operation for any cloud suitable to the UAE.”

Dubai International Airport – one of the busiest airports in the world – was forced to close for 25 minutes due to rain on Tuesday. The disruptions continued through Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Dubai International Airport told Bloomberg on Tuesday that “operations continue to be severely disrupted due to heavy rainfall and flooding.” Emirates, one the largest airlines in the world, suspended passenger check-ins on Wednesday.

The UAE government warned people about the heavy rains and asked them to stay home. They were only allowed to leave in “cases of extreme necessity”. It then extended remote working for federal employees until Wednesday.

Social media was used to update people on the effects of the storm. Videos showed cars being swept from roads. Another video showed a ceiling collapsing in a shop as water flooded one of Dubai’s popular malls. The metro system in the emirate was affected.

Some buildings were without power and residents had to evacuate their apartments. Underground car parks were also flooded. Abu Dhabi’s roads were also affected by the flooding.

In Oman’s neighbor, heavy rains have caused flooding in the past few days, according to AP, citing a report from the National Committee for Emergency Management.