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Photos: UAE sees its heaviest rains in 75 years

Atypically heavy rains in the United Arab Emirates on Monday and Tuesday caused flooding, flight cancellations and school closures. Vehicles were abandoned on highways like this one in Dubai.
Francois Nel
/
Getty Images
Atypically heavy rains in the United Arab Emirates on Monday and Tuesday caused flooding, flight cancellations and school closures. Vehicles were abandoned on highways like this one in Dubai.

DUBAI — Schools and businesses have been closed across the United Arab Emirates after the country experienced about year's worth of rain in one day.

The flooding also disrupted travel at Dubai International Airport, which is the world's busiest for international travel.

Videos posted online showed residents sweeping rainwater out of their homes and luxury cars stranded in Dubai's flooded streets, after a storm unleashed the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the country since the start of data collection 75 years ago. That was well before the country was founded.

Dubai's high-end stores weren't spared either, as rainwater gushed through the ceilings of shopping malls. At Dubai's main airport, the runway flooded and flagship carrier Emirates suspended all departing flights on Wednesday. The local Gulf News reported more than 1,200 flights were canceled due to Tuesday's storms. The airport is expected to return to fully operational by Friday.

The city, known for its year-round sunny weather and beaches, saw sunshine later in the week, but schools remained remote due to road closures.

Despite some damage to cars, homes and roads, the UAE's state news agency says the rainfall boosts the country's groundwater reserves.

Rainfall in nearby Oman is blamed for more than 20 deaths this week, including 10 children swept away in a car on their way home from school Monday, according to state-owned media there.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A flooded parking lot in Dubai on Thursday.
Francois Nel / Getty Images
/
Getty Images
A flooded parking lot in Dubai on Thursday.
Passengers queue at a flight connection desk at the Dubai International Airport on Wednesday. Dubai's main airport diverted scores of incoming flights on Tuesday as heavy rains lashed the United Arab Emirates, causing widespread flooding around the country.
/ AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
Passengers queue at a flight connection desk at the Dubai International Airport on Wednesday. Dubai's main airport diverted scores of incoming flights on Tuesday as heavy rains lashed the United Arab Emirates, causing widespread flooding around the country.
Cars drive in a flooded street following heavy rains in Dubai on Wednesday. Torrential rain caused floods across the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.
Giuseppe Cacace / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Cars drive in a flooded street following heavy rains in Dubai on Wednesday. Torrential rain caused floods across the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.
A man walks along a road barrier on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road amid floodwater caused by heavy rain, Thursday.
Christopher Pike / AP
/
AP
A man walks along a road barrier on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road amid floodwater caused by heavy rain, Thursday.
A tanker truck sits abandoned in floodwater in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday. The United Arab Emirates attempted to dry out Thursday from the heaviest rain the desert nation has ever recorded, a deluge that flooded out Dubai International Airport and disrupted flights through the world's busiest airfield for international travel.
Jon Gambrell / AP
/
AP
A tanker truck sits abandoned in floodwater in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday. The United Arab Emirates attempted to dry out Thursday from the heaviest rain the desert nation has ever recorded, a deluge that flooded out Dubai International Airport and disrupted flights through the world's busiest airfield for international travel.
People wait for transportation on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai on Thursday.
Christopher Pike / AP
/
AP
People wait for transportation on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai on Thursday.
Vehicles sit abandoned in floodwater covering a major road in Dubai on Wednesday.
Jon Gambrell / AP
/
AP
Vehicles sit abandoned in floodwater covering a major road in Dubai on Wednesday.

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Aya Batrawy
Aya Batraway is an NPR International Correspondent based in Dubai. She joined in 2022 from the Associated Press, where she was an editor and reporter for over 11 years.