April 21, 2024
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Saudi Storm Shuts Down Schools And Blocks The Primary Route To Mecca

Jeddah frequently experiences heavy downpours and flooding during the winter. Located on the Red Sea, the city of Jeddah is home to a population of about 4 million people, and it is often called the “gateway to Mecca,” from which millions of people annually make the journey to perform the hajj and umrah pilgrimages. Many pilgrims use the road between them to get to Mecca, but it was closed on Thursday when the rains started, according to state media. Nonetheless, it was later reopened. There were videos of cars being swept away by floodwaters in the aftermath of heavy rainfall, and they were widely shared on social media.

That day, the National Center of Meteorology in the Kingdom recorded 179 millimetres of rain in the Jeddah Governorate between the hours of 8 am and 2 pm, the highest amount ever recorded in that area. According to the report issued by the centre, the rainfall total for Thursday in Jeddah far exceeded the annual average for the period between 2009 and the present. Many parts of the Kingdom, including Makkah and Madinah, were hit with heavy rains and strong winds, according to a tweet from the National Center of Meteorology.

Impact of the heavy rains on travels and schools

King Abdulaziz International Airport issued a statement informing travellers that “due to weather conditions, the departure of some flights had been delayed,” directing them to their respective airlines for more information.

As the rain was expected to persist throughout the day, it was announced before dawn by the official Saudi Press Agency that school would be cancelled in the city. A statement from the Jeddah Department of Education read, “Due to the rainy situation and to preserve the safety of students,” and indicated that classes were to be cancelled across the city. Rabigh and Khulais, two neighbouring towns, also had to close their schools “to preserve the safety of male and female students,” as SPA put it.

As multiple streets in Jeddah’s residential areas reportedly became impassable due to flooding caused by recent rains, the city of Jeddah raced against the clock to get things back to normal. The authorities sent out 2,564 workers with 960 machines to clear the streets and roads of water and garbage so that movement could resume.

Several drivers were rescued by Jeddah Civil Defense swimmers who dove into the flooded King Abdullah Road tunnel to pull them from their submerged vehicles. The heavy rains caused the complete closure of a street in Jeddah’s eastern district, where many vehicles were swept away by the floodwaters.

In light of the current weather situation in the Kingdom, it is important to note that the General Directorate of Civil Defense has issued a call for all citizens and residents to exercise extreme caution.

Last Updated on 1 month by newseditor

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