Kingdom on alert after warning of heavy rains



JEDDAH: JASSIM ABUZAID | Arab News Staff

Published — Thursday 25 April 2013

Last update 26 April 2013 2:31 pm

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All government agencies are on alert for an expected cold front and heavy rain over several areas in the Kingdom from tomorrow until Wednesday.
Citizens and residents have been warned to take every precaution over the next few days.
Prince Mohammad bin Naif, minister of interior, ordered all government departments to prepare resources, personnel and equipment for the expected climatic changes.
Abdullah Thabet Al-Arabi Al-Harathi, spokesman of the Civil Defense, said the prince is following events closely and ordered heads of defense committees to prepare emergency plans across the Kingdom.
Equipment and units are being mobilized in populated areas where heavy rain is expected.
Civil Defense committees and various ministries are coordinating joint action to ensure public safety.
Village committees have been placed on standby, he said.
He said the Civil Defense’s special center at its headquarters is on 24-hour alert and is in touch with the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) to monitor the situation.
Al-Harathi said citizens have to be careful over the next few days and should monitor the bulletins of the Civil Defense.
He praised the media for highlighting the situation.
Hussain Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the PME, told Arab News that there would be considerable moisture in the air around the southern and western parts of Riyadh province starting from tomorrow until Wednesday.
He said a cold front is coming from the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and Africa, which mights cause heavy rains.
The phenomenon is called Al-Baydha (Arabic for white).
It was given this name in the hope that rainfall would raise water levels in valleys to help farmers.
Similar weather conditions occurred in 1981, 1982 and 1983 when the largest valleys in the Kingdom filled with water.

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