Dozens rescued from flooding as heavy rain shuts schools and roads in Saudi Arabia

Monday, January 28, 2019

JEDDAH: Heavy rainfall and sandstorms in the Kingdom have led to flooding, school closures and poor visibility, authorities said Monday as they urged people to take precautions during the bout of bad weather.

Rain hit northern and western parts of Saudi Arabia on Sunday and Monday, while sand swept through major population areas to bog down the skyline.

Schools shut in Tabuk, Arar and Al-Jawf because of flooding and there was low visibility in Riyadh among other places.

Flooding in #Madinah on Monday caused chaos on the roads. In the north-west of #SaudiArabia, the Civil Defense (@SaudiDCD) said it rescued 65 people in Tabuk and Al-Jouf and 37 people west of Duba. (Video supplied)

— Arab News (@arabnews) January 28, 2019

"Riyadh, Makkah, the northern border region, Hail, Tabuk, Qassim, Madinah, the eastern province, Asir, Jazan and Al-Jawf are experiencing unstable weather and the General Directorate of Civil Defense calls on citizens and residents not to risk themselves and their families, and avoid going to valleys or dangerous areas," Maj. Mohammed Al-Hammadi, Civil Defense spokesman, told Arab News.

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah urged passengers to check their flights with delays and cancelations expected.

Civil Defense said it had rescued 65 people in Tabuk and Al-Jouf and 37 people in Duba. It told people to exercise restraint while driving and take maximum precautions.

Passengers using @KAIAirport in #Jeddah are advised to check their flights for cancelations and delays. Rain, strong winds and dust are forecast by @PmeMediacen to continue. Flooding seen here in #Madinah has caused chaos for motorists (Video supplied)

— Arab News (@arabnews) January 28, 2019

The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection forecast rainfall in the north and west, and sandstorms or dusty winds in several parts of the Kingdom.

Thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by gusty winds and dust, reducing visibility in Riyadh and the Eastern Region and resulting in lower temperatures.

In Makkah winds of 37 km/h are forecast, while in Jeddah wind speeds could reach 50 km/h. 

Dust filled the air in Riyadh on Monday. (Iqbal Hossain)

Hazy weather was expected early Tuesday in Al-Jawf, Northern Borders, Hail, Qassim and the Eastern Region.

Tabuk is expected to be mostly sunny, with a maximum temperature of 16 degrees Celsius.