JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Saturday 17 November 2012
Last update 17 November 2012 4:35 am
The weather office has issued a warning of moderate rain in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and other Red Sea coastal towns this evening.
“There are formations of cumulus clouds that cause moderate thunderstorms accompanied by dust storms in the provinces of Makkah and Madinah paticulalrly in the coastal areas since tomorrow evening,” spokesman of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment Protection (PME) Husain Al-Qahtani said in a statement yesterday.
He added that the situation would last until Monday and affect the northern and north-eastern parts of the Kingdom.
“PME is monitoring the situation closely and will notify concerned department s for necessary action,” Al-Qahtani said.
The official also warned the public not to be carried away by rumors and information issued by unknown sources and only rely on the information supplied by official sources.
However, people are confused because, some newspapers, on the contrary, quoted foreign forecasters predicting heavy rains in Jeddah and Makakh and other cities in the Western region of the Kingdom today.
The predications also indicated moderate rain in the northern cities of Hafr Batin, Khafji and Qassim.
BBC and Google weather have predicted a record rainfall of 300 mm, which is equal to six months rain fall in some hilly areas in Lebanon, a local daily reported.
However, Taif Civil Defense Col. Khaled Al-Qahtani warned the people not to visit low lying valleys or flashflood courses and not to cross ravines or swim in water pools in valleys as they may prove to be death traps in the event of heavy downpours.
Director General of Civil Defense in Jeddah Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Harity said he did not receive any warning about heavy rains from the PME until Thursday evening.
“We are fully prepared to face any eventuality but the PME did not issue any warnings to us.”
He said the forecast might not have been confirmed yet and PME sends out warnings only when it has definite information about coming natural phenomenon.
He said there nine centers in different parts of Jeddah for start rescue operations against heavy rain and flood. They are also supported by 32 rescue teams and are working round the clock and Civil Defense also have emergency plans in place if any warning of danger comes from the PME, he said.
He added that the PME is aware of a depression forming the Red Sea but it will not cause more than 30 mm rain.
School principals have the authority to suspend classes if any emergency including heavy rains happen. They need not wait for orders from any other higher offices.