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Watch Unbelievable Footage: Dubai Malls Submerged, Airport Inundated As Storm Unleashes 1.5 Years Of Rain in Hours

HomeTop NewsWatch Unbelievable Footage: Dubai Malls Submerged, Airport Inundated As Storm Unleashes 1.5...

Dubai, one of the most arid major cities on Earth, experienced a shocking deluge on Tuesday as powerful thunderstorms dumped over 1.5 years’ worth of rainfall in just 24 hours, causing widespread catastrophic flooding.

The intense downpours submerged major roads, the airport, and even the city’s famous driverless metro system under feet of water. Shocking videos circulated online showing mall interiors inundated as water cascaded from ceilings, large stretches of roadway completely impassable, and vehicles trapped in deep floodwaters.

“It was like witnessing the unimaginable,” said Aisha Al Mazrouei, a Dubai resident caught in the floods. “One moment I was going about my normal day, the next it seemed like the entire city was underwater.”

Meteorologists confirmed that Dubai’s 142 millimeters (5.6 inches) of rainfall over the 24 hour period shattered all previous records, exceeding the city’s typical annual rainfall of just 94.7 mm based on data from Dubai International Airport. The emirate of Fujairah was drenched by an even higher 145 mm.

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“We have never witnessed rainfall intensity like this before in the UAE,” said Hassan Al Naimî, a meteorologist at the Dubai Weather Office. “Climate change is making extreme weather events like this far more likely even in arid regions.”

The UAE’s desert climate and lack of annual rainfall means the rapidly developed cities have very limited drainage infrastructure in place to handle such severe flooding. With underpasses, parking garages, and basements overwhelmed, many motorists found themselves trapped in rising waters or swept away by powerful currents.

Tragically, a 70-year-old man in Ras al-Khaimah died after his vehicle was engulfed by the flash flooding, according to police reports. At least 18 other deaths occurred in neighboring Oman due to the deadly storms over recent days.

Dubai’s ultra-modern infrastructure was no match for nature’s overwhelming force. Bizarre scenes emerged of the futuristic driverless metro system completely submerged at some stations. Departures had to be suspended at the international airport as runways flooded. Incoming flights faced hourslong delays with some passengers struggling through deep waters just to reach terminals.

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“We urge all residents to avoid non-essential travel and remain indoors until the flooding subsides,” Dubai authorities said in an emergency alert as rescue crews frantically attempted to reopen roads and drain standing water across the city-state.

The floods also breached several of Dubai’s marquee architectural landmarks and luxury malls, displaying nature’s superiority over even the most ambitious megaprojects. Ceilings collapsed under the immense weight of the rainfall at Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, sending water gushing into the opulent shopping destinations.

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“I was just doing some shopping when suddenly it sounded like a waterfall erupted from the ceiling,” recounted Kylie Barker, a British ex-pat visiting the Mall of Emirates. “Within minutes the ground floor was completely flooded as panicked shoppers tried to seek higher ground.”

As surreal as the scenes looked, climate scientists warned that such extreme weather could become much more common for Gulf cities as global temperatures continue rising from human-caused climate change.

“This is an eye-opening example of how rapidly developing urban areas can become overwhelmed by only a day or two of extraordinary rainfall when they lack proper drainage,” said Dr. Karim Elahee, a climate researcher at UAE University. “The flooding in Dubai and across the Emirates reveals how unprepared even the wealthiest nations are for climate change’s escalating impacts going forward.”

While the UAE and other Gulf nations have experimented with cloud-seeding efforts to induce rainfall in recent years, Elahee emphasized that using that technology could never prepare a region like the Arabian desert for a doubling or tripling of annual precipitation caused by climate change.

“Cloud seeding gives a modest boost to rainfall to help with regional water security,” he said. “But no amount of sky brightening can make up for the extreme precipitation and weather patterns we are increasingly facing around the world as a result of human emissions.”

As the floodwaters slowly receded in Dubai on Wednesday, the long costly cleanup began. But the shocking impacts of the record rains raised unavoidable questions about the need to radically rethink urban planning and infrastructure no matter how wealthy or modern a city — even in the desert — as the Earth’s climate continues destabilizing.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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