BAHRAIN is expected to experience heavy rainfall and thunderstorms today, according to forecasts issued by the meteorological directorate yesterday.There was scattered rain over several parts of the nation yesterday, accompanied by strong gusts of wind and rough seas, prompting authorities to issue safety guidelines in view of the unsettled weather.Seafarers were urged to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary marine activities.

The Met said yesterday’s rain clouds came from the direction of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, with the weather fluctuations being attributed to an air depression affecting the Arabian Peninsula.A Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry’s forecast stated that thundery rain and very strong gusts of about 40 knots are expected today with a maximum temperature of 32C and a maximum humidity of 90 per cent.Ahead of the expected weather conditions, Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture Minister Wael Al Mubarak carried out inspection visits to the municipalities including the Muharraq Municipality and the Capital Trustees Board.He was accompanied by a number of officials including ministry under-secretary Shaikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.“The municipal councils in all the four governorates have stepped up preparations to deal with accumulated rainwater,” said Mr Al Mubarak during the inspections.“The ministry has secured tankers and will deploy them based on the severity of rainwater collection.“Such vehicles are important because they not only collect rainwater from the streets, but also ensure that the traffic flows as smoothly as possible, especially in places where they tend to pile up during such weather conditions.”

Machinery and equipment that will be used to deal with the rain, including those that will sweep and clean the streets in the aftermath, have also been inspected to ensure they are in the best possible condition.Mr Al Mubarak also praised the level of co-operation between municipal councils and relevant government agencies, as well as their dedication to follow up on reports by people and officials and respond to them as quickly as possible.“The ministry has developed an intricate plan in case of heavy rainfall,” he said.

“An emergency team has been put together at the ministry and a joint operations room will follow up on necessary procedures to drain rainwater in co-ordination with the councils, the Works Ministry and Civil Defence.”On social media, the ministry called on people to adhere to safety instructions by the authorities and to ensure that the roofs of their houses are properly insulated to avoid leaks.Meanwhile, Works Minister Ibrahim Al Hawaj made a number of field visits to inspect some of the main streets across the governorates in order to follow up on plans to ensure the flow of traffic as well as the safety of people.Accompanied by a number of officials including ministry under-secretary Shaikh Meshaal Al Khalifa, the minister inspected a tunnel linking Buri and A’ali, Al Lawzi Street, the Khalifa Al Kabeer Highway in Muharraq and the Dry Dock Highway in Hidd.“The ministry is working on cleaning drainage holes, maintaining pumping stations and emptying rainwater collection tankers in a timely manner to increase efficiency,” said Mr Al Hawaj.

“We are very keen to ensure that traffic flows as smoothly as possible on the main roads of the kingdom and to avoid potential congestion, especially in areas with heavy rainfall.“We are also co-operating with other ministries to provide pumps to deal with accumulated water.”Mr Al Hawaj has sent out a warning to not open manhole covers during rainfall to avoid a backflow of sewage water, and to not toss anything in them in order to avoid blockage, which makes officials unable to do their jobs properly.Conditions are expected to be the same across the GCC, with UAE authorities warning people to “avoid driving unless absolutely necessary” as the country suffered from heavy rain, thunder, high winds and dust storms.In Saudi Arabia, parts of the country including Riyadh were also hit by lightning, thunder and occasional hail showers accompanied by dirt and dust.

An advisory was also issued in Kuwait with authorities stating that “scattered rain, ranging from light to moderate intensity” will persist until this evening.In Oman, heavy rains caused floods, resulting in the deaths of 19 people, six of whom were school students, and eight people were reported missing.More than 2,000 students from schools in Al Mudhibi Governorate were evacuated following the rise of rainwater and 21 students were rescued from a bus that broke down in Nizwa.Citizens and residents in Bahrain are being urged to report any accumulated rainwater and other emergency cases to the Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture Ministry on 80008188 or the Works Ministry on 17545544.


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