VIDEO FOOTAGE: Floods kill 2 and destroy many cars after torrential rain fell in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

VIDEO FOOTAGE: Floods kill 2 and destroy many cars after torrential rain fell in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Floods kill 2 and destroy many cars after torrential rain fell in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

Jeddah, a city of roughly four million people located close to the Red Sea, is often referred to as the "gateway to Mecca", where millions perform the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages each year.

Winter rainstorms and flooding occur almost every year in Jeddah, where residents have long decried poor infrastructure. Floods killed 123 people in the city in 2009.

In November 2017, Jeddah police received 11,000 calls in one morning following heavy downpours in the city.

Last year, a plunge in temperatures in Saudi Arabia also resulted in floods in many parts of Jeddah. Saudis used the hashtag #جده_الان (Jeddah now) to share videos of the extreme weather conditions, and the same hashtag was in use on Thursday.

Bringing back the shocking memories of devastating floods that struck the city exactly 13 years ago, Jeddah and its surrounding suburbs on Thursday witnessed rain and flooding accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Torrential rain hit Jeddah for nearly six hours from 8 a.m. bringing life in the city to a standstill.

Two people died while several people trapped inside submerged vehicles were rescued.

According to the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), 179mm of rain was recorded in Jeddah in the six hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, which exceeded the amount of rain recorded during the November 2009 flooding.

The entire governorate of Jeddah was affected.

The Jeddah Mayoralty is racing against time to restore normal life in the city.

Flights and road traffic were disrupted for several hours as major arteries and highways were inundated. Flights were delayed at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) while the Haramain Expressway and some other major roads were closed for several hours.

Traffic resumed on the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway in both directions after disruption for many hours.

The mayoralty and the NCM announced a state of alert and urged residents not to venture out in rainy weather.

Several streets in Jeddah's residential neighborhoods were flooded, causing the breakdown of many vehicles.

Civil Defense spokesman Col. Muhammad Al-Qarni confirmed two deaths due to the heavy rain in Jeddah. He said an emergency room with the involvement of a number of agencies has been set up to ensure speedy intervention in emergency cases.

Swimmers from Jeddah Civil Defense have rescued many motorists trapped in the inundated King Abdullah Road tunnel. Many cars were submerged in an east Jeddah street, which was completely closed as a result of the rain.

According to the NCM, the city witnessed 60 millimeters of rain within two hours in the morning.

Most of the residents were forced to stay indoors as they saw water levels rise steadily outside their homes while most streets remained flooded.

Residents took to Twitter and Instagram to share images and video clips of extreme weather conditions and scenes of vehicles being washed away.

Schools and universities were closed in Jeddah, Rabigh and Khulais governorates following the announcement of the Jeddah Education Directorate Wednesday evening in anticipation of the stormy weather.

King Abdulaziz International Airport announced that some flights were delayed due to weather conditions. In a statement on its Twitter account, the airport said that the take-off of some flights has been delayed due to weather conditions, adding that it would communicate with airlines to confirm the new flight departure schedule.

Earlier in the day, the Emirate of Makkah Region announced the closure of the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway, as a precautionary measure. Several roads, including the Haramain Road, as well as some tunnels in the governorate were closed.

Saudi Arabia’s National Centre for Meteorology registered the highest recorded rainfall on Jeddah’s southern area between 8am and 2pm, the Saudi press Agency reported.

Rainfall stood at 179mm it said, beating a previous record rainfall from 2009.

Videos show cars being buffeted by surging water through streets and cars flipped over, washed away and destroyed.

Saudi’s Civil Defence Agency issued a weather warning amid the extreme weather conditions, advising motorists and residents to be wary of conditions.

On its Twitter account, King Abdulaziz International Airport said flights were delayed and advised passengers to contact airlines.

The floods have also caused flight delays at King Abdulaziz International Airport, school closures and blocked the road to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, state media reported.

According to Saudi Arabia's National Center for Meteorology, the rainfall in Jeddah’s southern area between 8am and 2pm on Thursday, which stood at 179 millimeters, was the "highest" ever recorded. It exceeded the amount of rainfall registered in 2009 when dozens of people died in flash floods.

Images posted to social media on Thursday showed cars being swept along streets through raging torrents of water.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported before dawn that schools in the city would be closed, as rains were forecast to continue throughout the day. 

Schools were also closed in the nearby towns of Rabigh and Khulais "to preserve the safety of male and female students", SPA said. 

The kingdom's schools are in the middle of final exams, yet schools had already been closed nationwide on Wednesday after King Salman declared a holiday following Saudi Arabia's shock victory over Argentina in the World Cup.

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