Heavy rain, deadly flooding to continue across the Middle East into Sunday

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 24, 2018, 11:40:37 AM EST

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A slow-moving storm system will bring the risk of heavy rain and life-threatening flooding to parts of the Middle East through Sunday.

Flooding on Friday claimed the lives of at least a dozen people in northern Iraq, according to Kurdistan24. While the weather will improve across northern Iraq on Sunday, other areas will be at risk for dangerous weather.

The entire region has endured stretches of stormy weather in recent weeks, and multiple days of rain and thunderstorms will once again bring the risk for flooding.

While November is often the beginning of the wet season, the rain has been more frequent and heavier than normal across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran so far this month.

MiddleEast 11/24


Kuwait endured multiple bouts of flooding within the past week, leading to numerous water rescues and evacuations.

Rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms through Sunday will total 25-75 mm (1-3 inches). The region averages around only 100-125 mm (4-5 inches) per year.

Hardest-hit parts of Kuwait, southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran could get up to 150 mm (6 inches).

Middle East Lightning 11/21

Lightning is seen above Kuwait International Airport in this still image obtained from social media November 14, 2018. (TWITTER/@canibano32 via REUTERS)

While heavy rain and flooding will be the biggest concern once again, strong winds can result in reduced visibility and coastal flooding in and around Kuwait City.

Other locations at risk for flash flooding from rain and thunderstorms include Baghdad and Basra in Iraq and Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz in Iran.

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Kuwait Weather Center
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Saudi Arabia Weather Center

Farther south and west, thunderstorms will bring the risk for flash flooding to parts of Saudi Arabia, including Mecca and Riyadh.

At least 35 people have been killed by flooding in Saudi Arabia during the past month, according to the kingdom’s Civil Defense Authority. Nearly 4,000 have been evacuated from flooded areas as well.

This number may rise as thunderstorms strike each day through Sunday.

While rainfall is not forecast to be as widespread, locations across Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon will be at risk for showers and isolated thunderstorms through Saturday.

Quick-hitting downpours can result in flash flooding and cause travel disruptions.

Never attempt to drive through floodwaters, as 1-2 feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles.

A period of more tranquil weather is forecast to prevail across the Middle East starting on Tuesday; however, another storm could strike the region later next week.

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