Heavy thunderstorms that lashed the country yesterday gave a pleasant respite from dusty and warm weather experienced over the past few days.
Many took to the streets to enjoy the showers, while motorists had a hard time cruising through the water-logged roads and massive traffic congestion across the city and adjoining areas.
Some flights at the Doha International Airport were delayed due to turbulent weather conditions and slippery runways.
The Meteorology Department forecast more rains today. “The weather is expected to continue with rains at times accompanied by thunder and storm until Monday,” Abdullah Mohammed Al Mannai, Acting Director of the Department of Meteorology, Civil Aviation Authority, told The Peninsula.
“Some areas in the southern part of the country received hail stone showers on Friday evening. If the temperature in the upper atmosphere is low, we can have hails even if the temperature on the land is high,” he said.
A number of inbound and outbound flights were delayed by few minutes to several hours. Qatar Airways urged passengers to check updates on flight status on the carrier’s website.
“Bad weather in Doha is affecting some flights in and out of Hamad International Airport. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.
All efforts are being made to minimize disruptions and ensure seamless travel for passengers where possible,” the airline said in a post shared on its social media platforms.
Many passengers said that they had to wait for hours due to bad weather.
Al Wakra receives highest rainfall
Some travellers to the UK said that they had to wait for two-and-a-half hours on the tarmac, as runways had to be closed for clearing up the debris due to thunderstorms.
In a rather disappointing news for race fans yesterday, the hugely popular Grand Prix of Qatar saw the day’s proceedings cancelled at the Losail International Circuit because of the heavy downpour.
A series of free practice and qualifying sessions in the three classes of racing – MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 – were cancelled by the world governing body after numerous track inspections yesterday. Wet racing tracks are considered dangerous for the riders.
The opening season’s races in the aforementioned classes, however, will be held today as scheduled, it was confirmed.
Slippery roads and water-logging following the heavy rains and gusty winds yesterday slowed down traffic, leading to congestion on many roads. Rains brought traffic to a standstill in most parts of Doha, and outside the city, during peak hours.
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment deployed its rain emergency team to pump out water from several low-laying areas. The authorities used social media networks to warn people to take precaution while driving as rains, strong winds hit different parts of the country.
“Reduce your speed, keep more safe distance, avoid overtaking and sudden lane change. Don’t drive through water-logging,” the Ministry of Interior posted on its Twitter account.
Many streets in Najma, Mumtazah, Mansoorah, Hilal and Old Airport area were flooded. According to some motorists, Industrial Area was the worst hit. Traffic at some roundabouts were frozen in all directions, last evening.
“In street no 38 and 39, water reached up to the waist. My workplace is in street number 39. however, due to flooded roads and traffic congestion, I had to leave my car in Street Number 3, where another branch of my company is located. Most of my colleagues also did the same and the company offered a bigger vehicle to ply between the branches,” said Mohammed, an Indian expatriate.
According to the weather bureau Al Wakra received the highest rains yesterday with 29.7 mm recorded until 7pm. A motorist driving through the Mesaieed-Al Wakra road said he could see puddles of water in many low-lying areas.
“Almost all the interior roads in Al Wakrah and Wukair were flooded last evening. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to reach my office in Doha, yesterday after noon, while the travel time usually is less than 30 minutes,” said a Wukair resident.
Mesaieed received 24.1mm rainfall followed by Hamad International Airport (21.7mm), Al Shahniya (20.9), Qatar University (20.78) and Abu Samrah and Doha International Airport (20.2mm). The northern part of the country received less rainfall.