KSA may get heaviest rain in 21 years

TORRENTIAL: Extreme weather conditions had caused heavy rainfall of 120 mm in only two hours in Jeddah in 2011.
Updated 05 September 2016

KSA may get heaviest rain in 21 years

JEDDAH: The Arab Peninsula will experience this year a wave of heavy rain not witnessed in the region for the past 21 years due to the La Nina factor, a weather expert has said.
“La Nina is a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Western and Central Pacific regions. It affected the region several years ago in 1996 and 2010. This weather pattern is characterized by heavy rain,” Turki Al-Jamman told local media.
According to him, La Nina is one of the most extreme weather conditions and enjoys much attention of physicists, and considered one of the most important climate phenomena.
“La Nina is a result of active easterly winds over the Pacific. This wind activity is in turn the result of high pressure over Tahiti and low pressure over Darwin area to the West of the Pacific and East of Australia. La Nina affects other phenomena called Amo, Wtio, Nao, and Ao,” said Al-Jamman.
In 1996, this phenomenon was active over the Pacific, so Jeddah recorded heavy rainfall, that is 255 mm according to the measures of the Saudi meteorology authorities, he said, adding that according to the German GPCC, the rainfall was more than 300 mm in mid-November.
Al-Jamman said that in 2010, the same phenomenon affected the coasts of Jeddah with extreme weather conditions. “And in 2011, such extreme weather conditions caused heavy rainfall of 120 mm in only two hours in Jeddah, resulting in severe flooding and loss of life and property,“
The world witnessed other extreme weather conditions last year such as El Nino, with the Arab Peninsula witnessing the highest temperatures last summer, added Al-Jamman.


$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 06 July 2020

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.