Wild Weather Wreaks Havoc in Middle East

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
May 2, 2013; 6:35 PM ET
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A recent stretch of unsettled weather across the Middle East is expected to continue into the upcoming weekend.

The wild weather ranged from strong thunderstorms in Afghanistan to flooding in southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula to hail storms across northern Saudi Arabia.

Another round of heavy rainfall resulted in flash flooding across parts of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Early reports indicate at least 20 people have died while more remain missing. In neighboring Oman, flash flooding claimed the lives of at least 2 more people on Wednesday.

Information from the Oman Meteorological Department indicate that Ibri received 145 mm of rainfall during the month of April. This rainfall was all reported during the final 10 days of the month, making it one of the wettest 10 day periods in the history of the city.

The unsettled weather began more than a week ago when a thunderstorm brought heavy rain, wind and damaging hail to southern Afghanistan. The storm hit a military base damaging about 50 helicopters, according to a service member at Kandahar Airfield.

The bad weather was not limited to southern Afghanistan, as parts of the north experienced flash flooding that resulted in at least 20 deaths and destroyed thousands of homes.

Flash flooding was a major issue from Yemen into southern Saudi Arabia and Oman since last week, as several rounds of heavy rainfall targeted the region.

Flash flooding across Oman forced the Royal Oman Police (ROP) into action as helicopter rescues were increased in frequency over the weekend. More than 50 people were rescued by the aircraft.

Reports from the ROP indicate that at least 16 people have died in the rounds of severe weather in the past week, including 2 people that were struck by lightning on Monday.

On Monday, more heavy rainfall resulted in 120 emergency rescues, bringing the total people rescued during the recent stretch of unsettled weather to at least 320, according to Oman News Agency.

In Yemen, heavy rainfall led to flash flooding in the capital city of Sana'a which in turn led to travel problems.

Another round of stormy weather erupted across northern Saudi Arabia over the weekend as storms blanketed the ground with hailstones around the city of Ha'il. Rainfall amounts totaled more than an inch on Saturday, surpassing the monthly average for all of April in a single day.


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