"Tough in the Gulf" - storms and flooding!
The weather in the UAE isn't as visibly seasonal as in most other countries: no autumn colours, no spring flowers, etc. Usual it’s either hot, less hot, humid, or windy.
The UAE sometimes experiences some pretty extreme weather conditions that bring a new sense to the saying: It doesn't merely rain, it pours!
RAIN is very rare and always welcomed by UAE residents with great joy, with even adults running outside to stand in the rain & children cheerfully playing in puddles! From my experience, the highest likelyhood of rain is between the months of December - March. Due to the fact that the road sewage/drain system gets clogged with sand throughout the summer months, the water cannot go anywhere - leading to some quite severe localised FLOODING in the cities! (see photo)
Most extreme weather can usually be witnessed just before the major climate changes, i.e. just before or after summer. Prevailing northwesterly winds, known by their Arabic name Shammal (meaning "north") are the main cause of moderate to severe sandstorms, whipping sand up in the desert & lashing it across the country.
SANDSTORMS lend an eerie feeling to the day.
It almost seems like once in a while, the desert attempts to reclaim its territory and to bury the artificial glitter & glamour built by man. Exercise caution whilst driving during poor visibility, as well as mini-dunes building up on the highways.
THICK FOG is also a major disturbance in many parts of the country, due to previous rainfalls or sudden high humidity. It's quite common in September & October, and flights have had to be redirected or delayed because of heavy fog in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or the Northern Emirates.
We even had SNOW in early 2009 in Ras Al Khaimah, and HAIL STONES in Dubai and some other emirates! http://archive.gulfnews.com/gngalleries/galleries/10278675.html Below, I have listed some newspaper articles about past weather disturbances that made it into the UAE's headlines:
More rain, thunder storms & gale-force winds & even hail (!) batter the UAE:
Gulf News - March 2009:
"Dubai's freakish weather continues, with Met office warnings for residents to stay away from the ocean and also the wadis in the mountains."
Rain storms lash Dubai; low visibility, lightning and fog:
Gulf News - March 2009:
--> Here you can see pictures and even video footage of Dubai's freakish weather in the spring of 2009.
Agony continues as relentless rain floods the roads:
Gulf News - 15th January 2008
Dubai/Sharjah: Motorists had another agonising day on the roads as heavy rains flooded most of the busy streets while some areas became "lakes" trapping drivers who drove through. Most arterial roads were clogged with vehicles, which moved bumper to bumper.
Doctors strongly advise people with respiratory conditions to stay indoors during sandstorms and to take extra care if they do have to venture outside.
Dr Abdul Rehman Shihabi (Vetrauensarzt des Deutschen Generalkonsulats) said asthmatics were at risk of suffering attacks during sandstorms.
People with allergies to dust or elderly residents with chronic lung conditions should also try to avoid sandstorms, Shihabi said.
DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC: Golf Tournament
The DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC (Golf) is an annual event that always draws huge crowds of tourists and expatriates alike.
Dubai is slowly establishing itself as a new premier golfing destination. The Dubai Desert Classic will once again see some of the great players battle it out on the green between the sand dunes. Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie, etc.
Defending Champion of the next tournament is Henrik Stenson.
>> Dates: January 28th - February 3rd 2008.
>> Tee Timings:
31. January: Players practice throughout the day.
1st February: 06:50am - 12:50pm.
2nd February: 08:30am - 12:10pm.
3rd February: 08:30am - 12:10pm (all approximate times).
>> Ticket Prices: to be announced.
VISIT THEIR WEBSITE FOR UPCOMING DETAILS:
http://www.dubaidesertclassic.com/ Comfortable shoes, a hat or parisole as sun protection, and lots of *Shhhhhhhhh!* patience...
>> Spectator's Requirements:
Strict "No Autograph" policy in effect throughout the championship week.
Camera & Camcorders are allowed on-site during Practice Rounds only.
Free Golf Lessons from PGA professionals will be available during the Official Tournament days at the driving range.
Children 12 & younger will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder.
Stay gehind gallery rops, and wear appropriate footwear.
Discount Shopping at Factory & Warehouse Outlets
Dubai is an expensive city... it has numerous shopping malls with boutique stores that few of us can afford. But now, there is a new opportunity for budget & discount shopping:
DUBAI OUTLET MALL opened in September 2007 and is located a few kilometres outside of the city.
It is part of the upcoming huge "DubaiLand", which will include a theme park, residential developements and (of course) shopping extravaganza... what would Dubai be without even more shopping malls? haha!
TIP: This mall is another giagantic retail space (1 Mio square feet), so keep this in mind if you are visiting with small children or people with walking disabilities!
Besides the hundreds of stores, there are also numerous restaurants and cafes to keep you refreshed and "fuelled". MY TIP: try "Aran" (Gaelic for "bread"); a superb open-sandwich cafe with amazing food right by the main entrance!
If you need more cash, there is also a UAE Exchange Office. There are parking spaces for 9,000 vehicles. What can you find here? You can find out what fashion brands ACTUALLY cost... Low prices by some of these factory outlets include:
> ALDO Shoes
> Optical Stores
> Jewellery Stores
> Luxury Perfume Stores
> KENNETH COLE
> MASSIMO DUTTI
> NIKE Sports
> REPLAY Jeans
> CALVIN KLEIN
> MONSOON Fashion
> CONVERSE, and much more...
I bought a silk top at AiZone: original price was 795 Dhs, I paid only 265 Dhs :-) That's a 75% discount! John found a fabulous suede jacket from Massimo Dutti at 45% discount. I also bought a gorgeous vintage-style embroidered winter coat with a 55% discount! (you can see the coat on my Heidelberg pages)
7 days a week, 10:00am - 10:00pm.
--> UPDATE June 2008: I've re-visited the mall several times now. There are great outlets of Nike, Adidas and Puma, as well as trekking/hiking/outdoor gear as well. On clothes & shoes, discounts start at approx. 25%. For sports wear, discounts start at approx. 50%. There are numerous stores with everything from children's wear to electronics, hard ware to gift items... go & check it out!
UPDATE: Since January 2008 a smoking ban has come into effect in Dubai's shopping malls.
UPDATE May 2009: Do you really still think that Dubai is great for shopping? Actually, it's a rip-off! Click here: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090509/NATIONAL/705089803/0/FRONTPAGE
A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITIES
I must not be very culturally attuned, 'cause Scarlett's keeps getting awarded the title of being the best bar in Dubai by pretty much every publication in town, but the place doesn't do a thing for me. The problem might lie in the fact that the place doesn't quite know what to be - a friendly sports bar, a restaurant serving colourful tex-mex, a hip dive for affluent 20-somethings, or a lounge terminal for cabin crew and the vultures who flock diligently after them.
As a result of this schizophrenia, an evening at Scarlett's is a bit of a mish-mash in itself. A few good things it does have going for it are an excellent maitré 'd, a mean mojito, and a god serving of tortillas. The rest is just a blurred, hurried pot-pourri of flavours, with no one taste being able to distinguish itself from the rest.
Best Italian restaurant in Dubai
The resturant is in the foodcourt at uptown Mirdif, with other branches atCentury Village, theE Aviation Club, Garhoud [04 2823636], and La Vigna Restaurant, Siemens Building, Internet City [Tel. 3916785]
Service from 11am to 11pm I had mushroom risotto with sliced turkey ham in it . The portion was much too filling for me to eat all.It cost 32 dhms. It was not particularly good. An ordinary pasta dish would probably have been better And cheaper , or for the same price a Petto di Pollp alla Pizzaiola [chicken breast with hillies and black olives] or Scaloppa crema e funghi [chicken escalope with mushroom cream sauce.]