• Reading Level 5

Climate Journalist of the Year Aged 14-18: Runner Up

Beeline Reader (learn more) uses subtle colour gradients to help you read more quickly and efficiently.

Deadly storms in… a desert?

Pragya, GEMS Cambridge International School, UAE

Monday, 15th April, 2024, 9:27 PM. I get into bed, ready for another day of school, oblivious to what’s going to happen in the UAE tomorrow. It’s raining a bit, but nothing too bad.

Tuesday, 16th April, 6:43 AM. I check my phone, school is closed due to forecasted “unstable weather conditions”? I think nothing of it and go back to sleep. If only I looked outside…

Tuesday, 16th April, 8:32 AM. The deadliest thunder storm in Emirati history hits Abu Dhabi. And I just notice it.

Chaos is everywhere. It’s all over the news. A cataclysmic thunderstorm, accompanied with heavy rainfall, causes havoc all around. Nothing could have prepared the UAE for a disaster like this. Despite the drainage systems, the Emirates flood. Fast. One year of rain falls in a matter of hours. Dubai Mall floods, people in Abu Dhabi ride kayaks to cross the street, a 70-year-old man in Ras Al-Khaimah loses his life after his car is swept away. How in the world can a desert witness so much rain and lightning? Citizens say, “It’s cloud seeding!” Experts assure it’s not. So what exactly is the cause of this mayhem? Climate change.

The thunderstorm had originally hit Oman a couple days before attacking the UAE. As meteorologists stated there were around six cloud seeding planes before the storm had striked, speculations went around saying cloud seeding was the cause of the storm. Cloud seeding involves spraying salty mixtures inside clouds which eventually lead to rainfall. Since the Emirates is an arid country, cloud seeding is carried out to solve potential water shortages. However, it was not the cause of this adversity. Research indicates that an increase of 1°C in the average temperature of the Earth allows the atmosphere to hold on to around 7% more moisture, which results in extreme weather conditions, explaining the catastrophic thunderstorm.

As I sat at home and did some schoolwork, I decided to look outside. Dark already? No problem…other than the fact that it’s only 2 PM. The skies were gloomy as lightning struck every couple of minutes. The streets were flooded, “submarine taxis in Dubai” was trending on social media, and all schools and offices were closed. It felt like something straight out of The Batman, where Gotham City floods, destroying anything and everything on the ground. Fallen trees, leaking houses, broken infrastructure. Without preparation for this unimaginable calamity, airports struggled. Dubai International Airport required over 22 tankers and vacuums just to get all the rainwater off the grounds.

Decimating flash floods and disastrous amounts of lightning in a desert – are we not realising anything? You have probably heard the words “climate change” so many times it sounds cliché, but the time to act is now or never. The consequences are dire, and they are showing already. It takes just one person to start, and that person can be you. Yes, start using metal water bottles. Turn off your lights in the morning. Avoid buying products with hefty packaging. Slowly but surely, it all makes a difference.

As the dark clouds finally fade away. I check the news once again, happy that the thunderstorm is over. “UAE Weather: more rain expected next week.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email