Jeddah and its surrounding suburbs on Thursday witnessed rain and flooding accompanied by thunder and lightning. Torrential rain hit Jeddah for nearly six hours from 8 a.m. bringing life in the city to a standstill. Two people died while several people trapped inside submerged vehicles were rescued.
According to the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), 179mm of rain was recorded in Jeddah in the six hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, which exceeded the amount of rain recorded during the November 2009 flooding.
Flights and road traffic were disrupted for several hours as major arteries and highways were inundated. Flights were delayed at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) while the Haramain Expressway and some other major roads were closed for several hours. Traffic resumed on the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway in both directions after disruption for many hours.
The mayoralty and the NCM announced a state of alert and urged residents not to venture out in rainy weather.
Swimmers from Jeddah Civil Defense have rescued many motorists trapped in the inundated King Abdullah Road tunnel. Many cars were submerged in an east Jeddah street, which was completely closed as a result of the rain.
Schools and universities were closed in Jeddah, Rabigh, and Khulais governorates following the announcement of the Jeddah Education Directorate Wednesday evening in anticipation of the stormy weather.
Thursday’s torrential rain and flooding brought back the bitter memory of the devastating flooding that struck Jeddah on Nov. 25, 2009. At least 122 people were killed and some 3,000 vehicles swept away or damaged in the flooding, which was the worst to hit the city in 27 years.