RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia on Friday issued a number of weather warnings across several regions and urged the public to take precautions as more rain was expected on Saturday.
The Kingdom’s Civil Defense and emergency medical teams braced for the rainy season and began implementing plans, while municipalities continued to drain and clear the excess water.
The National Center of Meteorology issued an alert for the western city of Madinah and its surrounding governorates, with forecasts of thunderstorms accompanied by heavy and torrential rain, surface winds, hail, and lack of visibility.
Moderate to heavy rainfall was also recorded in Jeddah, Qassim, Al-Jawf, Taif, Al-Wajh, Yanbu, Tabuk, Arar, Hail, Al-Baha and Makkah.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority in Makkah, Tabuk and the Northern Borders Province raised their readiness and alert levels in their first aid centers, in alignment with reports of rainfall from Friday to Saturday.
Readiness has been raised in 98 centers in the Makkah region, including 24 centers in Taif, 36 in Jeddah, and 38 in the holy capital, equipped with crews of doctors, specialists and emergency medical technicians, as well as 114 vehicles, including ambulances and disaster and crisis vehicles.
Pictures and videos posted on social media showed rainwater flooding buildings in Makkah and washing away cars.
In Tabuk, 27 emergency centers have been set up.
Authorities called on citizens and residents to comply with the civil defense’s instructions published on different media outlets, to take precautionary measures against weather fluctuations and while driving on highways, and to avoid areas prone to potential flooding, as well as electricity poles and trees.
The authority said that emergency assistance can be requested by dialing 997 and via the Asefni application around the clock.
The Riyadh Municipality issued 10 alerts and guidelines to direct people to ensure their safety, and provided an alternative “940” emergency contact number.
People have also been warned to take care so as to avoid traffic accidents, not to drive at high speeds, or get distracted while driving.
The civil defense has set up committees to evaluate the damage caused by the rain in Makkah, which will begin receiving requests for compensation from those affected by torrential rains and flooding that struck the holy city.
“We didn’t record any deaths or injuries as a result of the torrential rains,” it added.
Meanwhile, the NCM issued a bulletin on the amounts of rain that fell on the Northern Borders Province during the past 24 hours, with Arar recording the highest, followed by Rafha airport and Turaif airport.