RIYADH — Heavy rain, accompanied by thunderstorms, lashed in Al-Qassim, Eastern Province, Riyadh, and Madinah regions of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and Wednesday. Flash floods inundated roads and underpasses and many vehicles submerged in flood waters in Al-Qassim and Riyadh regions. In-person classes were suspended in Riyadh and the Eastern Province regions.

The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) issued a “red alert” for the regions of Al-Qassim, Eastern Province, Riyadh, and Madinah and warned of heavy rain accompanied by high-speed winds, lack of horizontal visibility, hail, torrents, and thunderbolts in these regions.

Al-Qassim region witnessed heavy downpour and flashfloods. Video clips showed cars, which partially submerged in water, trying to make their way through puddles of water in the Qassim region. According to residents, rain continued for seven hours from Tuesday afternoon until near midnight in huge quantities in Al-Qassim. “Water accumulated to a height of more than 10 cm in front of the residence and prevented us from going out to the street, and the sound of thunder was loud and the lightning was illuminating the city,” according to a resident.

The Unayzah city witnessed 70 mm rainfall, in just 60 minutes, that is equivalent to half of the annual average rainfall, according to Dr. Abdullah Al-Misnad, vice president of the Saudi Weather and Climate Society.

In the Eastern Province, a wave of heavy rain, followed by cumulonimbus thunderstorms, forced the emergency teams under the mayoralty to close tunnels, bridges and main streets. The mayoralty announced the closure of the King Fahd Road tunnels in Dammam as a precaution, coinciding with the rainy situation, in order to ensure the safety of people.

In a statement on its X account on social media platform, the mayoralty said that the Riyadh Road tunnel with the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Road has been closed in coordination with the Traffic Department of the Eastern Province. The authorities in the region also called on the people to be cautious and wary of potential risks, and not to venture out except when absolutely necessary, and to follow the instructions of the competent authorities.

Riyadh witnessed moderate to heavy rain and that resulted in accumulating water in a number of streets in the capital city, though not affected the flow of traffic significantly. The education departments in the Eastern Province and Riyadh decided to cancel in-person classes on Wednesday and convert them to distance learning through the Madrasati and Rawdati platforms. The Madinah Education Department published on the X platform pictures of workers repairing electricity and air conditioning units and removing accumulated water in schools.

Meanwhile, the National Center of Meteorology predicted in its latest weather report on Wednesday that there is still chance for moderate to heavy thunderstorms that will lead to torrential rains, accompanied by hail showers and active winds that stir up dirt and dust. “The rainy situation is expected in parts of the regions of Najran, Jazan, Asir, Al-Baha, Makkah, Riyadh, Al-Qassim, Hail, Al-Jouf, and the northern and eastern borders. It is not unlikely that fog will form in parts of those regions as well as in parts of the Tabuk region, especially in the coastal areas,” the center said in its statement.

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