Monday, November 18, 2013

Rare downpours and floods hit Saudi capital

Space Daily via AFP: Rare heavy downpours triggered flash floods in the Saudi capital on Sunday forcing schools and universities to close and prompting calls by the authorities for citizens to remain indoors. At least three people were reported missing, the state news agency SPA said quoting civil defence spokesman Colonel Abdullah al-Harithi.

He added that authorities assisted dozens of people trapped by the floods, a rare phenomenon to hit the capital of the desert kingdom. Heavy rains, accompanied by thunderstorms, have lashed Riyadh since late Saturday triggering flash floods in several districts and cutting off power in the city's north, according to residents.

Harithi urged Riyadh citizens, estimated at more than five million people, to stay away from rivers, valleys and flooded tunnels while the education ministry ordered schools and university closed Sunday. Saudi Arabia, like other desert countries, rarely sees heavy rainfall and religious leaders often organise prayers for rain....

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