A dust warning was issued on Sunday morning as the UAE braced for several days of heavy rains and strong winds.
The National Center for Meteorology has urged people to be “extremely vigilant” for dangerous weather events until at least 1pm today.
The meteorologist said visibility had dropped below 500 meters in many parts of the country, including over Abu Dhabi International Airport.
People awoke to thick clouds of dust blanketing the Abu Dhabi and Dubai skylines, with many tall buildings barely visible beneath the haze.
The public has been asked to follow the authorities’ instructions as strong winds kicking up sand and dust severely reduced visibility.
Abu Dhabi Police warned motorists to be vigilant when driving in dusty conditions.
The force urged people not to photograph the unsettled weather behind the wheel.
The Abu Dhabi Media Office said on Saturday people should only drive “if necessary” due to the adverse conditions.
It states that drivers should switch on their dipped headlights when visibility is poor.
Al Ain and Al Dhafra are likely to be the hardest hit.
More rain is to come
Authorities met on Friday to discuss response plans for a period of unstable weather.
The National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management, better known as Ncema, attended a meeting with the National Center for Meteorology, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and police chiefs.
“All local and national teams are fully prepared to ensure an effective and appropriate response to any risks that may arise from the disease,” Ncema said.
The UAE could be set for more rain until at least Thursday, according to the latest forecasts.
Wind speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour are expected in parts of the country in the coming days.
These are said to bring dust and sand storms with them. Rain is also expected to lead to a drop in temperatures in the first half of the week.
“Rain is possible in some parts of the east and south on Saturday and Sunday,” an NCM meteorologist said The National last week.
“There is a low pressure area with humid air coming into our area from the Oman Sea and the Arabian Sea,” he said. “We expect moderate to heavy rain.”
The NCM said it was most likely to rain any day through Wednesday in the southern and western parts of the country.
The drop in temperature contrasts with last week’s hot weather.
Temperatures topped 50°C in Swehain, the hottest place on earth, on a June afternoon in 2021.
Rain in the UAE – in pictures
Updated August 14, 2022 at 8:48 am