Flooding Wreaks Havoc At Dubai International Airport

Since Saturday, the third busiest airport in the world has had to deal with delayed, diverted and canceled flights as heavy rains have led to intense flooding. Dubai International Airport is scrambling to cope with the extreme weather, working to get its operations back to normal. However, with more heavy rains expected, the situation may not improve any time soon.

DXB Runway
Only one runway will be available at DXB between April 16 and May 30, 2019. Photo: Dubai Airports.

“Dubai Airports can confirm that due to heavy rainfall and flooding earlier today, Dubai International (DXB) is experiencing operational disruptions…We are working closely with our service partners to get back to full operations as soon as possible, however flight delays are expected to continue through the day with some cancellations and diversions to Dubai World Central (DWC).” -Dubai Airport official

Extreme weather

The National UAE reports that rain fell throughout Friday and the early hours of Saturday. As a result, many roads were heavily waterlogged. Readings show that Dubai received 150mm of rain every hour for two-and-a-half hours. This is extremely out of the ordinary for Dubai as an average January experiences only 10mm of rain over the full month.

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The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology sent out an alert warning residents to be extremely vigilant. In fact, “hazardous weather events of exceptional severity” were in the forecast as thunder and heavy rain have enveloped the Northern Emirates.

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At higher elevations, freezing rain, snow, and hail are expected while at lower altitudes, temperatures may drop to as low as ten degrees Celcius.

Challenging operations at Dubai International Airport

The heavy rains have led to flooding at Dubai International Airport. This has caused “operational disruptions” with many flights being delayed, diverted, or canceled.

Below are two videos that show just how much water has inundated the airport. The airport’s apron appears to be completely underwater:

Looking at FlightRadar24 data, it appears that the majority of flights were delayed between 1-3 hours. Some flights, like EK82 coming from Lyon, arrived five hours later than the scheduled time. Several flights were diverted to neighboring airports such as Muscat International Airport (Oman) and Fujairah International Airport (UAE). Most flights that were diverted went to Al Maktoum airport, also known as Dubai World Central. A smaller percentage of flights were canceled.

One flight didn’t even make it to the Gulf. Norwegian flight DY4601 flying from Stockholm was diverted to Paphos (Cyprus). We asked the airline about the diversion choice – we’ll update this article if we get a response.

Conclusion

Passengers are asked to check and confirm timings with airlines. Rainfall is expected to continue today across the region, hopefully easing up on Monday. The system should pass completely by Thursday.

With so many international travelers passing through Dubai, has your flight been affected by flooding? Let us know how your experience was by leaving a comment!

As Dubai International Airport is the home of Emirates, we reached out to the airport for comment on how severely the flooding as impacted its operations. We have yet to receive a response at the time of publishing. However, we will update this article if we hear back.

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Chris

It is surprising the most modern new airport is not drained for extreme rain. Or is it? I guess there had to be a cost-benefit on the drainage capacity. The rain seems to be more than exceptional and unprecedented. But might have to think again now that @climatechange is with us to stay.

Moaz Abid

But you see Dubai wasn’t designed for heavy rainfall due to it’s extremely dry conditions. It only rains 7 days a year in Dubai, compared to the UK, where it rains 7 days a week!

Donna

Our daughter is stuck at Heathrow since yesterday afternoon. Her flight was due to leave yesterday at 20.20 and is still delayed. Now 14.00 today. She has checked in twice now but was given an overnight stay in a hotel and food. She has a connection which she has missed to go to PP Cambodia. She will be over a day late getting back and has work. She says lack of information is the main thing. There was no announcement last night and she only discovered a further delay by looking at her app. A worried parent : (

Henrik

Hi Chris Loh, and thanks for interesting article about rain in Dubai!It looks like the Norwegian DY4601 been diverting to Cyprus since 8 january. https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/dy4601  

Mandi

I was stuck at Dubai on my way to Manchester missing connection here after coming from India. I was standing, literally standing, without being able to go to even the washroom for 11 hours as I was traveling solo so no one will hold my place in que in the long line of 500 people in one line( all together must have been 5000 at any one point) and Emirates staff was the most shambolic I have seen in any civilised country. They had no sense of empathy ,at times shouting at passengers who were standing in que for 10+… Read more »

Gerry S

Sympathize with you Mandi. Your experience was terrible. What is unbelievable is that flooding in Dubai. Article's headline looks like a joke. What's next? Heat waves in Siberia? Planet's changing and we are responsible. Hear that SF?

stogieguy7

Thank you for the climatology lesson, based solely on the selective articles that CNN and various partisan websites publish.

Laurent

We are still stuck in Dubai, I can confirm most of the negative feedback already provided: complete mess, no communication at all (App not update, no TXT, no email), we discovered after hours in the queue via the web site that our initial stop over of 4 hours was now 64 hours… No hotel room available, nothing, this is not acceptable and very badly managed!!!

Gerry S

Would be nice if Simple Flying got on the care and demander answers from Dubai, Laurent. No one likes bad press and persistent queries by a news organ. sometimes get folks to behave better. Dubai/Airlines should be bombarded with press coverage.