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Dubai airport flooded after year and a half’s worth of rain falls on city in one day

Independent Climate

Dubai was drenched in a year and a half’s worth of rain in a single day, killing at least one person and disrupting travel through the world’s busiest airport.

Parts of the financial capital were brought to a halt on Tuesday as almost 6 inches of rain fell on the city, according to official meteorological data. It was more than what the city gets in over a year.

Photos and videos showed giant highways submerged in water, cars stuck, and damage to homes and businesses. Authorities and communities across the United Arab Emirates were clearing debris on Wednesday after the torrential downpour killed at least one person.

Dubai Airport, one of the busiest in the world and a crucial connecting spot for long-distance flights, diverted several planes causing travel chaos as the runway was seen covered in knee-deep water.

Passengers waited for hours for their flights and struggled to reach terminals through the floodwater covering surrounding roads.

On Wednesday, the airport was still functioning on limited capacity. On X, the airport authority wrote there were “limited transportation options” and affected flights as aircraft crews couldn’t reach the airfield.

“Recovery will take some time,” the airport said. “We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through these challenges.”

Some aircraft had been diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, the city-state’s second airfield.

One couple described the situation as “absolute carnage”.

“You cannot get a taxi. There’s people sleeping in the metro station. There’s people sleeping in the airport,” The Associated Press reported one of the passengers as saying, speaking on the condition of anonymity as the country restricts criticism.

Paul Griffiths, the airport’s CEO, said it was an “incredibly challenging time” and that every place an aircraft could be safely parked was taken.

Passengers queue at a flight connection desk at the Dubai International Airport in Dubai (AFP via Getty Images)

“In living memory, I don’t think anyone has ever seen conditions like it,” Mr Griffiths told the state-owned talk radio station Dubai Eye.

“We are in uncharted territory, but I can assure everyone we are working as hard as we possibly can to make sure our customers and staff are looked after.”

The state-run WAM news agency called the rain…

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