Gusty wind plays havoc in EP; scores hurt in pile-up

Gusty wind plays havoc in EP; scores hurt in pile-up

A major pile up on Abqaiq Road (Dammam-Alhasa Expressway) near Dammam Industrial Area II involving more than 20 vehicles Wednesday evening resulted in injuries to more than two dozen people. — Courtesy photo

By Saeed Haider
Saudi Gazette

OVER a dozen people were injured, some seriously, in two separate major pile-ups on Dammam-Alhasa Expressway near Dammam Industrial AREA II Wednesday evening in which more than 20 cars were involved. According to the traffic department there were no fatality in the pile-up which resulted due to near-zero visibility.

Since Wednesday morning, the Eastern Province, particularly the suburb area of Dammam, Dhahran, Qatif, Jubail, Ras Al-Khair and Ahsa were braving strong wind and high temperature.

Last Monday, the General Authority for Meteorology and Environment issued warning of strong wind causing rising dust affecting much of the Eastern Province. The warning predicted near-zero visibility causing disruption of flights and cargo movement. It advised people to remain indoors unless it was absolutely necessary.

Although the visibility in the city area until 3 p.m. on Thursday continued to be 8 km, life remained disrupted due to 56 lm per hour gusty winds.

Motorists, particularly on Dammam-Jubail Expressway as well as on Abqaiq Road leading to Al-Ahsa reported poor visibility and extreme difficulty in controlling the vehicle.

Officials at King Fahd International Airport, however, reported normal flights. “There were few delays but that was routine and nothing to do with weather,” said an airport official.

In the City Center also life remained normal. In Ramadan, in any case, the streets and market place wore a desert look during the day time.

Dhahran Mall, Radhid Mall and hyper markets like Panda, Lulu and Al-Hothaim registered normal visits of their customers on wednesday night.

Roadside shops and street vendors did have tough time to cope with the strong wind.

The coast guards have also warned people to avoid going into the high sea or swimming as strong wind may sweep them away. There were no untoward incidents reported.

The traffic department has warned motorists to avoid driving at high speed on the highway. “Keep your headlights and hazard lights on as a precautionary measure,” the department said.

The municipal department has put its team into action to clear the streets and roads of uprooted trees and other debris.

King Abdulaziz Seaport is functioning normal but train service to and fro Riyadh has been disrupted. The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Corporation (SAPTCO) has also reported “rescheduling of its services from Dammam and Al-Khobar.

Traffic on King Fahd Causeway was also thin on Wednesday evening. However, Thursday saw the bridge overcrowded since after noon. Causeway patrol vehicles are monitoring traffic movement on the bridge and advising passengers to strictly adhere to the speed limit.