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Persistent storms prolong flood threat for Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia

By By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
April 17, 2016, 2:55:46 AM EDT

A slow-moving storm system will lead to flash flooding across the Middle East through Thursday. The threat for flooding will extend from Iraq and western Iran into Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The storm tracked across the Mediterranean Sea earlier this week and will move across the Middle East through the end of the week, igniting widespread thunderstorms across the region.

Heavy rain will trigger flash flooding across several areas.

While rounds of rain and thunderstorms began early in the week, the most significant risk for flooding will be Thursday. Many locations will have to contend with showers and thunderstorms, but two areas will have a heightened risk for flooding.


The first of these areas will stretch from south of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to Sana’a, Yemen. While flooding is the greatest threat, hail may also accompany the strongest storms.

Rainfall of 12-25 mm (0.50-1.00 inch) will be common with locally higher amounts in the strongest thunderstorms.

Flash flooding can occur with very little warning, so residents should be alert of their surroundings and never try to drive through flooded areas.

Middle East Weather Center
Detailed forecast for Baghdad
Detailed forecast for Mecca

The second high risk area will be from Iraq into western Iran.

Areas such as Baghdad and Basrah will get multiple downpours.

Thunderstorms may quickly produce 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) of rain that will lead to flooding. In the mountains of western Iran, rainfall of 100 mm (4 inches) or greater is possible.

Due to the slow movement of the storm, scattered thunderstorms may continue to affect the region into the weekend. However, as the low weakens, the threat for flooding is expected to lessen.

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