Dubai Airport Floods, Heavy Rainfall Kills 18 in Oman

Record rains that inundated the United Arab Emirates and surrounding countries, killing at least 18 people in Oman and bringing air travel to a standstill in Dubai, were expected to continue into Wednesday, the authorities said.

Dubai typically records around five inches of rain in a year. The deluge that fell by Tuesday evening alone equaled that amount.

For the United Arab Emirates, it was the largest rainfall event in 75 years, the country’s National Center of Meteorology and the government announced on social media.

Flights heading to Dubai International Airport were being diverted on Tuesday, the airport said, and it suspended operations for at least 25 minutes earlier in the day because of the intense storm. The airport said there was “major flooding” on roads leading to the airport and urged people to check their flight status and to “allow significant extra travel time to the airport and use the Dubai Metro for smoother transit.”

More rain was expected overnight in Dubai and across the United Arab Emirates, beginning in the west and spreading eastward, according to the center of meteorology.

In Oman, which borders the U.A.E. to the east, a separate rain event killed at least 18 people, including “some 10 schoolchildren swept away in a vehicle with an adult,” The Associated Press reported. Officials there warned that heavy thunderstorms with strong winds and hail were expected overnight into Wednesday.

Videos on social media showed planes at Dubai International Airport taxiing through deep water.

The airport, which is the base of operations for the airline Emirates, said it recorded more than 80 million visitors in 2023. It is one of the world’s busiest airports for international travel, with flights to 262 destinations across 104 countries operated by more than 100 airlines.

Elsewhere in Dubai, the heavy rains, which began overnight, flooded portions of major highways as drivers abandoned their vehicles on roadways, The A.P. reported.

The deluge dumped nearly five inches of rain in Dubai by Tuesday evening, about as much as the U.A.E. typically receives in a year. Rain is rare in the U.A.E., which has an arid desert climate, but it occurs periodically, most typically during the winter months.

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