Dubai's 'Apocalyptic' Superstorm Strikes World's Busiest Airport After Historic Rainfall Causes Flood Chaos, Cancelled Flights

By Madz Dizon

Apr 17, 2024 11:19 AM EDT

Dubai's 'Apocalyptic' Superstorm Strikes Worl'd's Busiest Airport After Historic Rainfall Causes Flood Chaos, Cancelled Flights
Passengers queue at a flight connection desk at the Dubai International Airport in Dubai on April 17, 2024.
(Photo : AFP via Getty Images)

At least one person died as a result of severe rain and flooding caused by a "apocalyptic" superstorm in Dubai, which also stranded travelers at the world's busiest international airport.

Passengers had to sleep on the floor of Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while waiting for flights out of the country.

Apocalyptic Superstorm in Dubai Disrupts Flights

Dozens of planes were grounded due to the rain, which caused catastrophic flooding around the UAE. More than 4.7 inches of rain poured before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, meeting the normal yearly average.

The severe downpours were "a historic weather event" that exceeded anything witnessed since records began in 1949, according to the state-run WAM news agency.

The roads around the airport were seen covered in water, with some wealthy drivers in fancy vehicles bragging about "floating" their way through the chaos. Witnesses at the airport reported that there were no empty chairs left in the waiting area, as desperate travelers hunkered down and prepared for a long night.

 A major international airport paused incoming flights in the afternoon, with a gradual resumption announced a few hours later.

According to an announcement issued on social media by Dubai Airport operators, it is strongly advised that people refrain from going to the airport unless necessary.

Flight schedules are currently disrupted, with reports of delays and diversions. Dubai Airports confirmed that 17 aircraft were canceled this morning, with an additional three diverted.

Operations at DXB were temporarily halted for 25 minutes on Tuesday owing to a strong thunderstorm, Mirror reported.

Shocking videos posted on social media showed vehicles being filled with water, forcing hundreds of drivers to abandon their vehicles and swim to safety. Some cars were fully submerged, with the tops of their roofs barely visible above the water's surface.

A time-lapse video posted on social media this morning depicted how thunderstorms crept in and the sky became black before the city was blanketed by a curtain of rain.

The rains began late Monday, showering Dubai's sands and roadways with 0.79 inches of rain, according to meteorological data collected at Dubai International Airport.

The storms increased at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday and lasted throughout the day, pouring more rain and hail on the already overburdened metropolis. By the end of Tuesday, Dubai had received more than 5.59 inches of rain in 24 hours.

A cleanup operation looked to be starting early this morning, with authorities sending tanker trucks into the streets and highways to pump out the water.

However, the country's hereditary rulers provided no total damage or injury information for the nation, as several slept in their flooded automobiles on Tuesday night.

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1 Dead Following Historic Rain in Dubai

Police in Ras al-Khaimah, the country's northernmost emirate, said a 70-year-old man died when his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters. As the clean-up effort continues, authorities have suspended classes and implemented a work-from-home policy, according to Daily Mail.

Witnesses at the airport on Tuesday evening reported that there were no empty chairs in the waiting room, as desperate travelers hunkered down and prepared for the long night ahead.

The world's biggest flight hub for foreign passengers halted arrivals around 3.30pm GMT before declaring a "gradual resume" more than two hours later. Outside the airport walls, folks stranded in the rainy conditions posted video and photos like an apocalyptic world.

A few brave drivers facing the weather were seen sitting atop their automobiles, waiting for help beneath the black sky, but many more chose to ditch their vehicles and swim to safety.

A video posted on X early Tuesday shows entrepreneur and YouTuber Jordan Welch stuck in his Rolls Royce in Dubai when deep water flooded the road.

Unstable weather was forecast to persist in the region until today, according to the UAE's National Center of Meteorology, though the most of the rain seemed to have moved eastward.

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