Flooding brings Qatar to near standstill

Flooding brings Qatar to near standstill
Updated 26 November 2015

Flooding brings Qatar to near standstill

Flooding brings Qatar to near standstill

DOHA: Qatar was hit by heavy flooding on Wednesday causing gridlock on the desert country’s roads as well as closures of schools and offices.
Overnight rain made many roads near impassable for commuters amid reports on social media that even Doha’s Hamad International Airport was affected, due to leaks at the estimated $17 billion (16 billion euro) building, which opened last year.
The heaviest rain — 66 millimeters, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department — fell around the airport but Hamad International said that flights were operating normally, despite the weather conditions.
The US Embassy said that the weather had forced it to shut on Wednesday and the offices would not open again until next week.
“Due to inclement weather, the US Embassy in #Qatar will be closed today,” it said on Twitter.
The interior ministry pleaded for drivers to “be cautious” in the rainy conditions.
Football World Cup 2022 host Qatar is well-known for its fierce summer temperatures, which will force the tournament to be played instead in November and December.
In neighboring Saudi Arabia, schools were closed for a second day on Wednesday as rain continued to fall on Riyadh, flooding some streets and forcing drivers to abandon their cars.
About 10 cars were submerged under about two meters of water in a highway underpass in the Labban district on the capital’s western outskirts, an AFP photographer reported.
Workers were trying to drain the floodwaters into tanker trucks as a light rain fell from gloomy skies.
The Civil Defense agency reported that 72 vehicles had been rescued in the Riyadh region with their occupants unharmed.
One person died in Rimah, northeast of the city, the agency said.
Roads in the city center were unaffected, although traffic moved along the main King Fahad Road even more slowly than usual.
Some side streets were partly flooded elsewhere in the desert city of 5.7 million, which is dry and sunny for most of the year.
Other parts of the kingdom have also been soaked this week.
At least eight people died in flooding last week in the Madinah and Jeddah areas of western Saudi Arabia.