Okay it’s official. Global warming is a reality.
What else could possibly explain the bizarre weather Abu Dhabi has been having this past week?
Weather forecasts had warned residents to expect some rain this week. Hah! Talk about understatement of the century. In spite of the warnings, I doubt anyone was prepared for a deluge of this intensity.
It all started yesterday afternoon. Massive grey clouds hung threateningly over the city. People who had just washed their cars prayed in vain that it would not rain. Not only did it most definitely rain, it was a shower worthy of an Indian monsoon! The waters gushed from the heavens in fat plops that sent wet, chilly residents scrambling for cover. The downpour left many parts of the city flooded.
We thought the worst of it was over when the skies cleared up late in the afternoon. Fast forward to half past four this morning. I was jolted out of my sleep by what I thought was a loose gushing pipe thrashing around in the kitchen. I had sinking (pun unintended) visions of a flooded home and hours of pining over drowned appliances and furniture. The thrashing pipe was in fact a hailstorm that lashed our little compound for a good 15 minutes. Needless to say, sleep was an impossibility and I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to show up at work with raccoon eyes.
I made my way to work this morning under a menacing canopy of bulging, pendulous clouds. By 11am, the torrents began in full force. The skies darkened abruptly apart from the occasional burst of lightening. Our staff had their noses glued to the windows as everything from plastic bags to PVC pipes were whipped past by the wind. Satellite dishes were loosened and rattled at their moorings yearning to break free and dance in the wind. Rumors started to fly about billboards toppling in Dubai and about roads being shut down.
Fortunately the authorities had the foresight to close all schools for the day. Road accidents are an inevitable side effect of such a storm and it was a relief to know that at least the children are safe and sound. Eventually, even our office came to terms with the fact that things were only going to get worse. In the interest of employees’ safety a notice was issued asking all employees to get home before 2pm as a second storm was expected to hit soon.
I am now typing this from the safety and comfort of my home. But the sights I saw on the drive home rattled me, to say the least. To me, Abu Dhabi has always been a dignified lady with never a hair out of place. Today she looked like she had been caught unawares on a phenomenally bad hair day! Trees were uprooted on the highway and covered two lanes. Traffic signs, traffic cones and garbage cans were toppled over. Bits of construction site partitions lay scattered on the road. Giant pools of water made road lanes near invisible. I hear that things are not as bad within the city but the outskirts are definitely taking a beating. Kudos to the authorities who were already on the scene and assisting where required.
I feel like I need to inform the powers that be that this is a desert! Yoohoo… It may be a few measly centimeters of rainfall in the grand scheme of things but we are simply NOT equipped to cope with this much water! Muchos gracias for the showers and all that but I really prefer an Abu Dhabi where I don’t have to wade through ankle deep water in my work heels to get to my car!
On a serious note, as much as I feel the need to find humor in this situation, in my heart I hope and pray that everyone gets home to their families safe and sound.
Hang on my beloved city! We’ll get through this!