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Saudi winter will ‘not bite’ as anticipated

In this January 2016 photo, Saudi motorists flock to a high road in Tabuk region to enjoy the snowy weather. A meteorologist has reassured the public that this year’s winter will not be as “biting” as some weathermen and climate geeks have anticipated. (SPA file photo)
JEDDAH: A meteorologist has reassured the public that this year’s winter will not be as “biting” as some weathermen and climate geeks have anticipated.
Over the past few weeks, people have been skeptical of the coming winter weather conditions. Social media surfers have been describing the upcoming winter season as “severe” and to be the “coldest” to hit Saudi Arabia since 2007, but their forecast seems to contradict the opinion of experienced weather forecasters.
“Formation of clouds and wind movements give a clear indication that this year’s winter is normal,” Khalid Al-Za’aq, an astronomy researcher and member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Science (AUASS), told Arab News.
He pointed out that locals call the 40 coldest days of winter, “Al-Marbaniyeh,” which begins in December and ends in January. He noted that temperatures, during that period, drops.
Al-Za’aq anticipated that the northern and northwestern regions of the Kingdom, as well as Al-Jouf and Hail would experience sub-zero temperatures.
“It is not new for these parts of the Kingdom. This, in fact, happens nearly every year,” Al-Za’aq said. He added that temperatures in the Qassim region and the northern parts of Riyadh would probably experience even lower temperatures.
He recalled the Kingdom’s weather conditions in 2008, and described them at that time as “harsh enough.” However, the expert said, the current meteorological indications show that this year’s weather conditions would be usual and pleasurable.
According to the expert, the Kingdom is likely to receive heavy rains from the middle of Al-Marbaniyeh.
“This November, the amount of humidity in the central region ascended to 80 percent, similar to that in 1981 and 1982. This indicates that heavy rains are likely to lash the Kingdom…”
Al-Za’aq hailed the General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection’s (GAMEP) weather forecasts for their accuracy.
In its short-term weather report, GAMEP announced Wednesday that a cold air mass would start affecting Tabuk, Al-Jouf, the Northern Border and Hail beginning Thursday. This will be accompanied by strong winds creating dusty weather conditions, and will affect horizontal visibility.
The GAMEP expects the sky over the north, east and southeastern regions to remain cloudy. GAMEP’s website also stated that people in the Makkah region, along with those residing in highlands of Jazan, Asir, and Baha could witness thunderstorms. The site added that the cold air mass is also expected to affect the central and eastern parts of the Kingdom.

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