Wild footage of major Dubai shopping centres

Parts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a year and half worth of rainfall in one day and at least 20 people have died after wild weather swept across the region on Tuesday.

A particularly hard hit Dubai saw giant highways clogged by flooding and its major airport in chaos as the Middle East financial centre remained gridlocked on Wednesday, a day after the heaviest rains on record.

Shocking footage has since emerged showing the devastation caused by the intense weather with cars trapped in flooded car parks, structures torn down and shopping centres almost “under water”.

Dubai storms flood out Mall of the Emirates

TikTok has been inundated with footage of popular tourist attractions such as the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall. The vision shows shops flooded, ceilings caving in and staff sweeping out water from high-end stores like Chanel and Fendi.

In one clip a security guard can be seen trying to whisk shoppers out of the mall as the entire floor is covered in water.

Stationary store Flying Tiger Copenhagen can be seen in the background with its ceiling completely ruined and water gushing out.

Another clip shows products in the Samsung store at Mall of the Emirates completely ruined as water pours out from a caved-in roof with staff frantically trying to cover items.

At least 20 deaths

Oman, which neighbours the UAE, has recorded 19 deaths including a girl whose body was found in the city of Saham on the country’s Gulf coast.

In the UAE itself, a man in his 70s died when his vehicle was swept away in flash floods in the Ras al Khaimah emirate, north of Dubai.

Local news outlet The National said he was attempting to travel through a flooded waterway as heavy rain hit.

Worst rain for 75 years

The UAE’s National Centre for Meteorology (NCM) said 255mm of rain came down in 24 hours near Al Ain, on the Oman border.

With the UAE averaging between 140mm and 200mm of rain each year, that amount far exceeds the annual usual total.

Oman said it had received its worst rain for 75 years.

Conditions have eased on Wednesday, local time. The UAE has announced the “end of the weather fluctuations” but that it would take time for the country to return to normal.

Airport remains in chaos

Dubai International Airport, the home of Emirates and the world’s second busiest airport, is under particular pressure.

Over the last 24 hours it has diverted 21 flights to nearby Abu Dhabi Airport which is faring far better.

Other flights have seen severe delays with passengers unable to get to the airport or to leave it.

“We advise you NOT to come to the airport, unless absolutely necessary,” said the airport on social media.

“Flights continue to be delayed and diverted. We are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions.”

Planes taxi through water after extreme flooding in Dubai

Footage circulating on social media showed the airport completely flooded at times on Tuesday.

Clips show the tarmac drowning in water as planes try to navigate their way through what now looks like a marina.

Footage of an Emirates plane at its gate could be seen completely surrounded by water.

Emirates suspended all check in for passengers until Wednesday morning to battle the backlog.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. Emirates is working hard to restore our scheduled operations, and our teams will provide all possible support to affected customers,” it said in a statement.

Dubai plunges into darkness as storm clouds block out light

At 10am AEST it informed passengers it has resumed arriving flights of airlines operating out of Terminal 1.

“Flights continue to be delayed and disrupted, so we urge you to only come to Terminal 1 if you have a confirmed booking. Please contact your airline for the latest information on your flight status.

Emirates flight attendant seen trudging through flood water

One video shared to Instagram by digital creator Jay Robert showed an Emirates flight attendant dragging her luggage through knee-high waters as the footage cuts to inside what appears to be the airport – also flooded.

“Proof nothing will stand between crew and sleep, Emirates crew wade flood waters in Dubai in efforts to get home after long flights,” the caption read.

“Several Emirates crew wrote in to say this is the worst flooding they’ve seen in the city in nearly 20 years.”

Similar scenes were repeated across Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE as the oil-rich Gulf state, better known for its arid climate and intense summer heat, reeled from the storm.

Both the Oman and the UAE, which hosted last year’s COP28 UN climate talks, have previously warned that global warming is likely to lead to more flooding.

“It is highly likely that the deadly and destructive rain in Oman and Dubai was made heavier by human-caused climate change,” Otto, of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, said. Meanwhile, Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both suffered flooding and water was ankle-deep in at least one Dubai Metro station, according to images posted on social media.

The Dubai Metro is now back operating a limited service.

– with AFP

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