Weather ‘code red’: Saudi Arabia braced for more thunder and rain

Jeddah, Nov 8 (Arab News): As the mopping up continued after torrential rain in Saudi Arabia, weather forecasters warned of more to come on Wednesday.

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME) issued a “code red” warning of heavy thunderstorms and dust storms in the eastern region including Hafr Albatin, Alkhafhi and other cities, continuing until Friday.

The PME expects thunder and rain in the Eastern Province, Riyadh, Qassim, Aljouf, Tabuk, and some parts of Hail city in the northwest, with the possibility of snow in elevated areas. There may also be thunderstorms in Najran, Jazan, Asir, Baha and Makkah region, including the coastal areas, with limited visibility because of dust storms.

Forecasters expect overnight mist and fog throughout the Kingdom, except on the coasts.

Ten regions have been affected by a series of torrential downpours that began last week. Rain lashed down in Jazan and surrounding areas on Monday, and the PME urged people to avoid valleys and to be wary of surface water.

The Saudi Electricity Company apologized to residents in Rafhaa after power cuts and interruptions to the electricity supply caused by the adverse weather.

Jeddah Municipality removed 123,000 cubic meters of surface water after heavy rainfall. Water was cleared from more than 400 locations, including 248 main streets and 150 service roads.

In Kuwait, meanwhile, floods and torrential rain closed government offices, schools and the main stock exchange — and cost a government official his job.

The downpour started on Monday night and continued into the early hours of Tuesday. Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah fired roads and transport head Ahmad Al-Hassan after the rain brought parts of the country to a standstill.