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Heavy rains hit western region; residents warned against venturing into valleys
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 26 - 11 - 2020

JEDDAH — The western region of Saudi Arabia, including the cities of Makkah, Jeddah, and Taif, experienced moderate to heavy rains on Thursday and many parts of the Kingdom are likely to witness rainfall until Sunday. No casualties or major damages were reported from any parts of the western region that was hit by hail showers, accompanied by a thunderstorm.
The General Directorate of Civil Defense in the Makkah region called on the public to take utmost caution and avoid venturing into valleys and flood passages, and to abide by the safety instructions issued by the relevant authorities.
Muhammad Al-Baqami, the spokesman of the Jeddah Mayoralty, confirmed that none of the tunnels in the Jeddah governorate had been affected by rains until now, while the municipality workers, equipped with motors and tankers, are toiling to drain pools of water at several sites in the northern and southern parts of the governorate.
Strong winds disrupted the movement of ships for a few hours at Jeddah Islamic Port, according to reports. Some vehicles were trapped in water pools in the city.
Meanwhile, pictures of Umrah pilgrims performing rituals amid rainfall went viral on social media.
According to forecasts, moderate to heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms, are likely to hit Jeddah, Rabigh, Allaith, Qunfudah, and many other parts of the western region on Friday as rain clouds continue to remain over parts of the southwestern and central regions of the Kingdom, reaching parts of the Eastern Province until Sunday.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Misnad, a professor of climate, department of geography of Qassim University and founder chairman of the Nominating Committee on Climate Cases in Saudi Arabia, said that the city of Jeddah and its surroundings may witness severe climatic conditions on Thursday and Friday. He warned everyone to take weather forecasts seriously and take no risks of crossing valleys and flood passages.
The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection predicted earlier that medium to heavy rains accompanied by showers of hail and active surface winds would hit the regions of Makkah, Madinah, Jazan, Asir, Al-Baha, Qassim, Hail, Riyadh and Northern Borders Region.
The authority's report showed that the surface wind movement on the Red Sea is southeast to southwestern side on the southern and central part, and northwest on the northern part at a speed of 16-40 km per hour, and the wave height is from one to two and a half meters and state of sea is medium to wavy while the surface wind movement on the Arabian Gulf from southeast to eastern part is at a speed of 16-38 km per hour, wave height from one to one and a half meters, and the state of the sea is medium waves.
Meanwhile, Allaith Governorate Municipality has made all its preparations for emergency situations that occur with rain in the governorate and towns under its jurisdiction. Mayor Eng. Abdul Aziz Al-Maliki said that all the emergency preparations are in place to meet any rain-related situations.
More than 200 officials and workers, supplied with 27 equipment, have swung into action and completed cleaning works in valleys and flood passages as part of precautions to mitigate the effects of flash flooding. Allaith witnessed moderate to heavy rains, accompanied by showers of hail and thunderstorms on Thursday.

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