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Persistent rains disrupt normal life in Saudi Arabia


Dhahran, Feb 17 (Agencies): Persistent rains for the past one week have disrupted normal life in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, with reports of accidents and water logging in several low lying area in the cities of Dammam, Khobar, Qatif, Jubail, Al-Ahsa and Al-Khafji.

Government Schools have been closed due to intermittent rain, while international schools reported extremely low attendance. Private and public sector units also reported low attendance of employees in the past one week due to rains. The weather department has predicted continuous rain till Friday.

Although air traffic operated without any disruption, but some domestic and international flights were rescheduled and a few were delayed on departure.

The worst affected was the road transport system within the city and outside the city. As most of the low-lying areas in Dammam and Al-Khobar were clogged with rain water, the traffic movement was extremely slow, causing major traffic jams. Although Dammam and Khobar Municipalities were working round the clock to pump out the clogged water but continuous rain hampered even their operation.

People in the region admit that such a continuous inclement weather they had not witnessed in recent time. “In my memory never before we had witnessed persistent rain for such a long period,” said Abdullah Al-Anzi, a resident of Al-Khobar.

Mohammad Al-Qahtani, 65, and a businessman said that he does not recall such a long spell of rain in the region. Business in the city of Dammam , Khobar, Jubail and Ahsa has witnessed a steep decline as citizens and residents preferred to remain indoors.

Many big and most frequented shopping malls wore a deserted look even during their peak time. Abdullah Al-Dossary, who owns a boutique in one of the leading malls in Dhahran lamented that this week’s sale was not even half of a one day sale on a week day.

Khobar’s prestigious King Khaled Street, considered to be shoppers paradise in the city was also worst affected and many shops reported lowest sale in recent years. Dammam Industrial City II was virtually paralyzed due to flooding. Most of the access roads to industrial units were flooded with knee deep water.

Railway service to Riyadh as well as Saudi Road Transport Corporation services from Dammam to other cities were also affected. There were reports of several minor accidents on Dammam-Jubail Highway, Riyadh Highway and even within city limits.

The Traffic department is working overtime to clear the traffic congestions at strategic locations.

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection has reported 22 mm of rain this morning alone and predicts more rains tonight and Friday. Residents may have warmth of Sun on Saturday.

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