Roads turn to rivers and runway flooded as Dubai deluged by year's worth of rain in 12 hours

Around a years worth of rain fell in the United Arab Emirates, as Good Morning Britain Reporter Will Godley explains

A year's worth of rainfall has deluged the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Gulf of Oman in just 12 hours, flooding major roads and leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.

UAE state-run TV described Tuesday's rainfall as a "historic weather event".

At least 19 people - including ten schoolchildren - were killed in neighbouring Oman by flooding brought about by heavy rains.

Dubai's international airport - the busiest in the world - urged passengers to stay away “unless absolutely necessary” after it was hit by more than a year’s average rainfall in 24 hours.

Thousands of UK passengers were caught up in the flight disruption to Dubai, a popular holiday destination for Britons.

Emirates has cancelled seven flights between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) airport and the UK, with British Airways diverting or axing four. Other flights were delayed by several hours on Tuesday, such as one operated by Emirates which landed at Heathrow landing five hours behind schedule.

Heavy rains lash the United Arab Emirates. Credit: AP

A statement on the airport's official X page on Wednesday said it was "working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions".

Heavy rainfall began on Monday and by the end of Tuesday, more than 5.59 inches (14cm) of rain had been recorded.

Lightning was seem flashing across the sky, occasionally touching the tip of the Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world.

Speaking to ITV News, Dubai resident Naomi struggled with residents of her building to sandbag entrances before water flooded the basement, leaving around 70 cars floating underneath their homes.

She said: “The water kept coming in waves and every wave was worse than the last.

“In the basement we tried to get the cars out while the water was at waist height, but it kept coming, by the end cars were floating and it was completely flooded. As a swim teacher, I know how dangerous water can be, but being in an enclosed space it was that much worse.

“All of the cars were ruined, and the ground floor of the building was also under water, drains were bursting and overflowing, and people’s apartments were flooded."

Dubai resident Naomi found the basement of her building flooded and cars floating as more and more water poured in

Naomi added: “The building has been left without gas and limited water due to the drainage system not being able to take any more water. We can leave but it’s a choice between staying indoors or trekking out in waist-high water."

Rain is unusual in the UAE, so roads and other areas lack appropriate drainage systems. Authorities sent tanker trucks out into the streets and highways to pump away the water.

Ahead of the severe weather, many schools across the UAE closed for pupils and staff, and workers chose to stay at home, if possible.

Authorities ordered that schools remain shut on Wednesday as the clean-up operation continues.

Naomi added: "We usually get a weather warning and prepare the building before anything happens, but this has been the worst weather event in 75 years.

“All we can do now is look at insurance and wait for the tankers to come and drain the water from the basement and ground floor."

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