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Eastern region braced for bad weather
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 11 - 2012

Saeed Al-Bahis
and Mansour Al-Shehi
Okaz/Saudi Gazette
DAMMAM/RIYADH — Prince Muhammad Bin Fahd, Emir of the Eastern Province, has formed a task force to set out plans to deal with emergencies by monitoring weather conditions, roads, tunnels, bridges and flood drainage systems in the event of heavy rains in the region.
The committee has identified possible locations where disasters can occur based on forecasts by the Meteorology and Environment Presidency (PME).
The province's sewer system covers around half of the areas that attract rain.
Dhaifullah Al-Otaibi, Mayor of the Eastern Province, assured citizens that the sewer system is working but asked residents to remain at home if there is any rain.
The Education Directorate has ordered schools to implement safety measures to safeguard against the dangers of rain or fire.
Urgent warnings were issued by the PME to take precautions in most areas of the Kingdom, especially the central and eastern parts of the country where there is a high risk of rain.
In Riyadh, a three-hour spell of rain and wind caused 226 traffic accidents, resulting in four deaths and 18 injuries.
Head of the control center for Riyadh traffic police Capt. Ahmad Al-Jal'oud said during this period the center received 867 calls, of which 226 were about traffic accidents, and field teams attended to the accidents.
He added the accidents were mainly caused by faulty brake lights and signals, while one incident involved 12 vehicles.
He said one accident caught by cameras at the Khurais tunnel led to the vehicles catching fire, killing two people. The Civil Defense was dispatched to deal with the fires.
The Riyadh streets pose danger to drivers due to its softness, making them very slippery when rain falls, Al-Jal'oud said.
The weather will be partly cloudy in the north central and eastern areas of the Kingdom, according to PME forecasts, while thunderstorms are expected around Jazan, Asir and Al-Baha areas, extending to Taif.
High humidity is also expected in the southwest during the night and early morning hours.
The Red Sea conditions will witness light to medium waves, while in the Gulf waves will be up to 1.5 meters high.
An Arabic language daily reported that many vehicles were swept and damaged due to the rain in Taif Tuesday. The area witnessed scattered rains but no fatalities were recorded. Al-Baha also witnessed scattered rains, accompanied by thunder and strong winds.
In Baljurashi, several cars were trapped in the rain but the occupants were rescued, while Aghabat Haznah witnessed many dangerous collapses that caused road closures.
Al-Baha Civil Defense said that all those trapped in their cars were rescued. It called on residents to follow Civil Defense instructions for such weather conditions, including staying away from valleys.

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