AFP – Qatar was hit by heavy flooding on Wednesday causing gridlock on the desert country’s roads as well as closures of schools and the US embassy.
Overnight rain made many roads near impassable for commuters amid reports on social media that even Doha’s Hamad International Airport was affected, due to leaks at the estimated $17 billion (16 billion euro) building, which opened last year.
The heaviest rain — 66 mm, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department — fell around the airport but Hamad International said that flights were operating normally, despite the weather conditions.
The US embassy said that the weather had forced it to shut on Wednesday and the offices would not open again until next week.
“Due to inclement weather, the US Embassy in #Qatar will be closed today,” it said on Twitter.
The Interior Ministry asked drivers to “be cautious” in the rainy conditions.
Football World Cup 2022 host Qatar is well-known for its fierce summer temperatures, which will force the tournament to be played instead in November and December.
In Saudi Arabia, schools were closed for a second day on Wednesday as rain continued to fall on Riyadh, flooding some streets and forcing drivers to abandon their cars. About 10 cars were submerged under about two meters of water in a highway underpass in the Labban district on the capital’s western outskirts, an AFP photographer reported.
Workers were trying to drain the floodwaters into tanker trucks as a light rain fell from gloomy skies.
The Civil Defence agency reported that 72 vehicles had been rescued in the Riyadh region with their occupants unharmed. One person died in Rimah, northeast of the city, the agency said.
At least eight people died in flooding last week in the Madinah and Jeddah areas.