2 died as torrential rain disrupts life in Jeddah

City receives 179 mm rain in 6 hours

November 24, 2022
According to the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), the amount of rain received in Jeddah in six hours since Thursday morning exceeded the amount recorded during the 2009 floods.
According to the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), the amount of rain received in Jeddah in six hours since Thursday morning exceeded the amount recorded during the 2009 floods.

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Bringing back the shocking memories of devastating floods that struck the city exactly 13 years ago, Jeddah and its surrounding suburbs on Thursday witnessed rain and flooding accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Torrential rain hit Jeddah for nearly six hours from 8 a.m. bringing life in the city to a standstill.

Two people died while several people trapped inside submerged vehicles were rescued.

According to the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), 179mm of rain was recorded in Jeddah in the six hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, which exceeded the amount of rain recorded during the November 2009 flooding.

The entire governorate of Jeddah was affected.

The Jeddah Mayoralty is racing against time to restore normal life in the city.

Flights and road traffic were disrupted for several hours as major arteries and highways were inundated. Flights were delayed at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) while the Haramain Expressway and some other major roads were closed for several hours.

Traffic resumed on the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway in both directions after disruption for many hours.

The mayoralty and the NCM announced a state of alert and urged residents not to venture out in rainy weather.

Several streets in Jeddah's residential neighborhoods were flooded, causing the breakdown of many vehicles.

Civil Defense spokesman Col. Muhammad Al-Qarni confirmed two deaths due to the heavy rain in Jeddah. He said an emergency room with the involvement of a number of agencies has been set up to ensure speedy intervention in emergency cases.

Swimmers from Jeddah Civil Defense have rescued many motorists trapped in the inundated King Abdullah Road tunnel. Many cars were submerged in an east Jeddah street, which was completely closed as a result of the rain.

According to the NCM, the city witnessed 60 millimeters of rain within two hours in the morning.

Most of the residents were forced to stay indoors as they saw water levels rise steadily outside their homes while most streets remained flooded.

Residents took to Twitter and Instagram to share images and video clips of extreme weather conditions and scenes of vehicles being washed away.

Schools and universities were closed in Jeddah, Rabigh and Khulais governorates following the announcement of the Jeddah Education Directorate Wednesday evening in anticipation of the stormy weather.

King Abdulaziz International Airport announced that some flights were delayed due to weather conditions. In a statement on its Twitter account, the airport said that the take-off of some flights has been delayed due to weather conditions, adding that it would communicate with airlines to confirm the new flight departure schedule.

Earlier in the day, the Emirate of Makkah Region announced the closure of the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway, as a precautionary measure. Several roads, including the Haramain Road, as well as some tunnels in the governorate were closed.

The Jeddah Mayoralty has swung into action to carry out its field plan to confront flooding. “The mayoralty would continue its field work until the end of the rainy weather, with the participation of about 2564 workers and employees and about 960 pieces of machinery and equipment.

“Field efforts have so far resulted in the draining of water pools and the removal of waste from a number of locations by working teams distributed across 16 branch municipalities and 13 support centers, as part of the approved plan for the current rainy season,” the mayorality said in a statement.

Earlier, the Civil Defense warned the public against crossing valleys during rains and urged everyone to adhere to instructions announced through various media and social media outlets.

Director of the Forecast Department at the NCM Hamza Kumi said light to moderate rain is expected in Jeddah until Friday morning. Earlier, the NCM had warned of moderate to heavy rain, accompanied by surface winds, hail and low visibility in several parts of the Makkah region, including Jeddah, Rabigh, Thuwal, and other coastal areas.

Thursday’s torrential rain and flooding brought back the bitter memory of the devastating flooding that struck Jeddah on Nov. 25, 2009. At least 122 people were killed and some 3,000 vehicles swept away or damaged in the flooding, which was the worst to hit the city in 27 years.

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