Saudi Gazette – As global warming has brought rare weather to the Kingdom, the Arabic names given to these weather conditions are often amusing. What few may know is that there is a committee tasked with naming weather conditions that afflict the Kingdom. Ever since it was established in 2011, the Committee for Naming Saudi Arabian Climate Conditions has christened 11 weather conditions .
Head of the committee Abdullah Al-Musnid said the committee was founded as an unofficial panel specialized in the naming of distinguished climate conditions such as sandstorms, heavy rains and other weather-related disasters.
“The first climate condition we named was a sandstorm that devastated parts of several Gulf countries, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. The storm happened in 2011 and we named it Samakat Al-Rai (The Stingray Fish). Another sandstorm that affected the same areas in 2012 was named Al-Shabah (The Ghost),” said Al-Musnid.
He also said the committee has named extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain.
“In March 2012, heavy rain lashed most regions of the Kingdom and we named it Al-Mighdaqah (The Torrent). There was heavy rain in November of the same year north of Rabigh and it was named Al-Abwaa Rain, which referred to the location particularly hit. We also had Al-Aflaj, which referred to another case of heavy rain south of Riyadh,” Al-Musnid.
He added there were several cases of heavy rain throughout the year and in various areas of the Kingdom.
“Probably, the most famous climate condition Saudis will remember is Huda, the snow that we had in the north of the Kingdom, west of Iraq and several areas of the Levant. We chose to name the historic event Huda to reflect the calm and serene nature of the snowfall. People of Saudi Arabia had not seen snow in years. Despite the fact that unpredictable weather conditions have caused a lot of accidents and deaths, we didn’t want to attach negative connotations to the phenomenon,” said Al-Musnid.
He said the committee named weather conditions based on their locations, significance to the people and effect.
“We give destructive weather conditions that cause a great deal of damage names with negative connotations and positive names to weather conditions that unusual to the country’s typology but welcomed by the people,” said Al-Musnid.