Saturday, May 04, 2013
This afternoon a storm started up: rain, high winds, lightning, even some reports of hail!
So far the rain might cause some localized flooding but, so far, I don't think there will be much in the way of flood damage. If the winds increase further there will probably be some windstorm damage. Traffic on some of the main roads is snarled up, probably because drivers are slowing down due to the weather. Hopefully there won't be any major accidents.
I don't recall any rain in May in the time I've been here, and certainly nothing like this. Having a storm like this so late in the year is really unusual. Then again I would normally say the same thing about April but Steff Gaulter, a meteorologist at Al Jazeera, tweeted a while ago that in the last 10 years it has rained in Qatar in April every year except one. Shows how good my memory is. I bet it hasn't rained like this every year for the last 10 years though.
While the storm won't (hopefully) cause major damage it has been devastating in parts of Saudi Arabia and Oman. Take a look at this picture I took in the mountains of Oman.
What looks like a dry riverbed in the distance is actually a wadi, a channel where flash-flood waters come down the mountain. Flash floods are a frequent problem in parts of Oman so one has to be careful crossing wadis a suspect it might be raining in the mountains. Sadly a number of people have already been killed in Oman and Saudi by flooding.
If there’s any reports of major damage in Qatar I will post an update.