UAE weather: Al Ain freezes over as temperatures sink to -5°

Ice covers cars and greenery in the Abu Dhabi desert

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Temperatures in parts of Al Ain sank to a freezing -5° on Monday morning.

Residents had to scrape ice from cars and icicles formed around trees and plants.

The extreme weather happened in Raknah, close to a wadi in Abu Dhabi emirate, and has been tracked by Storm Centre UAE.

Storm Centre has popular social media channels dedicated to covering the region’s extreme weather.

Dozens of residents also gathered to experience the weather and some were forced to light a fire because the freezing conditions.

“This is my third day here,” said Emirati businessman, Hamdan Al Eissaaee, 28.

“I came on Friday after midnight and I wasn’t prepared. I did not expect it to be that cold.

“It was minus seven degrees [at one point]. I could barely stay for an hour and a half.”

Mr Al Eissaaee said he learnt his lesson and was dressed in full gear for the night. He arrived with four of his cousins on Monday at around 2am.

“At first we were excited to feel the cold temperature. We have never experienced such cold weather in the UAE before,” said his cousin Ali.

“But two hours later it got too cold so we had to light a fire.

“In the summer we escape the heat by turning on the AC and in winter we escape the cold by lighting a fire.”

‘I’m cold-blooded’

Two young men who stood in freezing cold all night only dressed in light kanduras, said they disagree.

“I am cold-blooded I guess. I don’t see the need to dress warm,” said Hamad Al Mazrouei, 20.

The Emirati student was not even wearing any form of head cover, just a light kandura – the white traditional dress worn by local men.

“I am trying to absorb as much cold as I can before it gets burning hot,” said Abdullah Al Dhaheri, 30.

Fahad Mohammed, co-founder of the Storm Centre, said the team has been going every night to record the temperatures. He said across the Levant conditions were similar.

Fahad Mohammed, of the UAE Storm Centre, as the temperature drops below freezing. Victor Besa / The National 
Fahad Mohammed, of the UAE Storm Centre, as the temperature drops below freezing. Victor Besa / The National

“On the first day, the temperature dropped to minus seven degrees at some point and remained at minus six most of the time,” he said.

“When we poured water on anything, it immediately froze.”

Sultan Al Mansouri, 26, a photographer from the Storm Centre team said: “We did not get rain this year but thank God we were compensated with the freezing cold.”

The team was founded in 2006 by Mr Mohammed, Ali Al Neyadi, Omar Al Nuaimi, Hamad Al Kaabi, Abdullah Al Jaberi and Ahmad Al Barq.

“None of us studied weather-related sciences. We all started as a hobby,” said Mr Al Neyadi, 30. More

Haneen Dajani

Haneen Dajani