Dubai's Rain Rampage: Cloud Seeding vs No Water Management

"Oh my God! I've never seen rain like this before," exclaimed a 50-year-old man in Dubai yesterday.

Do you know how long this rain lasted? It rained in three intervals over two hours.

For Indians, this rain might not seem significant. During cyclones, they can endure continuous rain for a week or even a fortnight. But for the UAE, rain is unimaginable, like snowfall in Hyderabad. It's an unusual phenomenon given the natural geography of the region.

To counteract this, the UAE developed cloud seeding technology. When windstorms are forecast within 24 hours, officials check the humidity levels. If it's high enough, they seed the clouds, causing them to rain during the windstorm. Readmore!

However, as the region is naturally arid, there are no rivers, creeks, or lakes for water management. Generally, the rains brought by cloud seeding typically last around 10 minutes and cause minimal damage.

This time, the cloud seeding coincided with a natural rainstorm in Oman. Some clouds from Oman were pulled by the UAE, with cloud seeding.

"This time, cloud seeding in the UAE coincided with a natural storm in neighboring nation Oman. Some clouds from Oman were pulled towards the UAE through cloud seeding. Despite this, Oman experienced flooding, and around 15 people have died so far. If the UAE hadn't diverted some clouds, the damage in Oman could have been even worse," said a Dubai resident.

Thus it might have become a blessing in disguise for Oman, but for UAE it proved to be a big trouble. 

The heavy rain flooded Dubai's airport, mall, and metro stations, leading to cancellations and stranded families. Some were stuck in malls overnight suspecting electrical hazards from the water.

Traffic was severely affected, with one employee taking 11 hours to get home. Sewage vehicles are now working to clear the flooded areas, highlighting the challenges of managing rainfall in Dubai.

"Cloud seeding is expensive. But clearing the stagnated water is doubly expensive," said an official working in the sewage department.

This is the plight of rainfall in Dubai, which lasted for around 2 hours in a single day with three long intervals. Schools and offices were closed for three days. All work and studies are being conducted in 'work from home' mode in the UAE.

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