Rain drenches Eastern Province

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection has forecast more rain in the Eastern Province and other parts of the Kingdom in coming days.

Saudi Gazette

Heavy rain accompanied by thunder lashed the Eastern Province on Saturday, bringing relief from scorching summer heat to the citizens and residents. However, normal life was disrupted in the cities of Dammam, Al-Khobar, Jubail, Qatif, Ahsa and Sihat, with reports of water logging, traffic disruption and minor road accidents.

The region was enveloped in thick cloud since Friday with some areas experiencing light drizzle. But Saturday morning witnessed strong thunderstorm.

Being Saturday there were no hardship for school children and their parents. Similarly office goers also enjoyed the rain from the comforts of their home as most offices were closed for the weekend.

At the airport air traffic operated without any disruption, with some minor and routine readjustments. The worst affected was the road transport system within the city and outside. As most of the low-lying areas in Dammam and Al-Khobar were clogged with rainwater, traffic movement was extremely slow, causing major traffic jams. Dammam and Al-Khobar municipalities were working tirelessly to pump out the clogged water.

People in the region say rain around this time of the year is a little unusual as normally rain hits the region in the last week of November. «In my memory never before we had witnessed rain around this time of the year,» said Abdullah Al-Anzi, a resident of Al-Khobar.

Businessman Mohammad Sa›ad Al-Dosarry, 65, said he does not recall any rain in this period in the past few decades.

Business in Dammam, Al-Khobar, Jubail and Ahsa was slow. Normally the markets are crowded on weekends by expatriate workers. Citizens and residents have preferred to remain indoors. Many big and most frequented shopping malls wore a deserted look even during their peak time.

Al-Khobar›s prestigious King Khaled Street, considered to be a shopper›s paradise in the city, was among the worst-affected with many shops reporting the lowest sale yet.

Dammam Industrial City II was functional despite water clogging at several places. The train service to Riyadh and the road transport services from Dammam to other cities were not affected barring few adjustments and reports of the late arrival of buses.

There were reports of several minor accidents on Dammam-Jubail Highway, Riyadh Highway and even within the city limits.

The Traffic department is working overtime to clear the traffic congestions at strategic locations.

Municipal authorities say that early rains have alerted them and will ensure smooth and uninterrupted life as they are putting in place all their system to avoid water clogging.

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection has predicted more rain in coming days. There is a chance of even heavy thunderstorm in the next few days.

Heavy rains were reported in several other provinces of the Kingdom on Friday.