Over the weekend, a group of UAE residents, including Muhammed Sajjad, made their way to Farfar mountain in Fujairah to experience the feeling of ‘walking on clouds’. The Dubai-based weather enthusiast, who runs the popular Instagram account @uaeweatherman, had predicted based on charts that there would low-lying clouds in the area.

Just as he had predicted, the group were able to experience standing above clouds. “It is a rare occurrence in this part of the country for clouds to be so low,” said Sajjad, speaking to Khaleej Times. “Farfar mountain is only about 600 metres high. So usually, we get clouds at the same height, and we are able to walk through it. However, on Saturday the clouds were about 400 metres high. So, it was a very unique experience.”

According to him, it is during peak summer, autumn and fall that these kind of low hanging clouds are more prevalent in the Eastern region of the country.

Experience of a lifetime

The group set off for Fujairah from Dubai at midnight on Friday. Prasoon Pachadiyan was part of the group. “We reached there around 3 in the morning,” he said. “The low clouds were visible from a little bit after we reached. It went on till about 11 in the morning.”

For Prasoon, this is not the first time he has gone on an expedition along with Sajjad and his team. “I started following him on Instagram about 1.5 years ago,” he said. “Cloud chasing was one of the first adventures I went on with him. Now he is a good friend and I have gone on several trips with him including rain chasing.”

For Sajjad, the experience is worth the sleepless nights and mornings. “Being in between the clouds is an experience I cannot even explain,” said. “Clouds are made of water vapours so when it touches you, it is a very cooling sensation. Temperatures range between 20- and 25-degree Celsius. I think it is something you need to experience at least once in your lifetime.”

Spots you are most likely to get the clouds

According to Sajjad, low clouds are prevalent in several places including the cities. However, it is mostly in the mountainous regions that people get to experience the low clouds. Those wanting to chase clouds need to verify which area the low clouds are in.

“If the clouds are in the Eastern region, then the Al Suhoob rest area in Khor Fakkan region is the best place to catch it,” he said. “It is close to the coast, so it is a great area to experience the clouds. If people have a four-wheel drive, then they can head to the Farfar mountains like we did.”

In addition to that, another upcoming spot is in Wadi Helo. “It is a place called Wadi Kitab and Sharjah government is just building access to the public,” he said. “We are expecting it to open before the end of this year. Once that opens, it will be great because the mountain is almost 1000m high.”

If the low clouds are in the Northern region, then Jebel Jais is the best spot. “There is also Jebel Yibr and a mountain that is locally known among explorers are Flagtop mountain,” he said. “These are all great spots to experience the low clouds.”

Weather enthusiast

Sajjad, who is a part of several groups of weather enthusiasts, is often at the forefront of cloud chasing and rain chasing excursions around the country. It was in 2015 after he arrived in the country that the Indian expat began studying charts and mapping the weather.

“I come from Kerala, which is extremely well known for its monsoons,” he said. “So, when I came here, I began missing the rain. I started studying charts. I am completely self-taught and did not have any training in it. I also made connections with other weather enthusiasts and those in the cloud seeding industry.”

Now, Sajjad has just one aim: unite all weather enthusiasts in one place. “I post my predictions and findings on my Instagram page, and I have a group of similarly weather-minded people,” he said.

“Earlier, I used to lead expeditions for cloud-chasing and rain-chasing. But now, I just guide them. For example, if someone drives to Farfar mountain using Google maps they will not be able to experience cloud chasing like us. So, we have created our own map using coordinates. I pass this on to those who want to experience it.”

However, being the weatherman is not always a smooth ride. “The first time I went with him, there were no clouds,” recalled Prasoon. “It was only on my second trip that I got lucky.”

Sajjad said such hit and misses are common during weather prediction. “There have been many times when we have gone rain chasing or cloud chasing, and they have not materialized,” he said. “It is the weather. So, there are several factors which may or may not give the desired outcome. Anyone who wants to partake in such adventures must be patient and be prepared for any outcome.”

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