Storm lashing UAE shuts Abu Dhabi stock mkarket, airport

 09 Mar 2016 - 17:35

Storm lashing UAE shuts Abu Dhabi stock mkarket, airport
Municipal workers pump water from a flooded street following a heavy rain storm on March 9, 2016 in Abu Dhabi. Schools in the United Arab Emirates were ordered to shut after rare heavy rain hit the desert Gulf state, causing flights to be suspended and flooding roads. AFP/ STRINGER


Claudia Maedler and Deena Kamel Yousef

Torrential rain and electrical storms battered the United Arab Emirates, shutting Abu Dhabi’s stock exchange and the desert city’s international airport. Schools were closed and roads across Dubai and other emirates were flooded.

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the second-biggest in the Gulf Cooperation Council by market value, canceled all of Wednesday’s trades after rain caused power outage and disrupted communication networks of some brokerages, the bourse said in a statement. Abu Dhabi’s airport, home to Etihad Airways, suspended flights for about an hour because of "severe weather conditions."

Shuwaib in the Abu Dhabi emirate recorded a rainfall of 240 cubic millimeters, state-run WAM news agency reported, citing the meteorology department. Bateen airport registered the highest wind-speed of 126 kilometers per hour (78 miles per hour).

Construction work in the city was halted since the previous day as a precaution, Abu Dhabi TV reported. The sheikhdom’s municipality urged people to stay at home until weather conditions improve as trees were uprooted and building materials littered some roads.

“This storm is quite severe,” said Ahmed Shehada, the Dubai-based executive director of advisory and institutions at NBAD Securities LLC. “Abu Dhabi is closed for the day and some offices have been asked to evacuate.”

Dubai International Airport, the world’s biggest airport by international traffic, faced "minor delays" on departing flights, a spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. Two flights were re-routed to Dubai’s second hub, Al Maktoum International Airport.

Emirates airline said 10 flights were canceled and others delayed at Dubai International Airport. Some flights of FlyDubai, the carrier serving short-haul destinations, were also delayed or canceled, according to a company spokeswoman.

Schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be closed tomorrow, according to government agencies. Some educational institutions in neighboring Oman will also be shut Thursday after rain, according to state-run Oman News Agency.

Operations were normal at the Port of Fujairah, Mousa Murad, the general manager, said by phone.