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WATCH: Dubai's sky turns green after heavy rains and storms, netizens left puzzled

An unusual phenomenon was seen in Dubai as the sky turned green after heavy rains and thunderstorms. Most of the city is still struggling to recover from the extensive flooding that inundated roads, highways, buildings and the busy airport.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Dubai Published on: April 18, 2024 16:10 IST
Dubai rains, green sky
Image Source : AP Dubai's sky turned green after heavy rains and storms.

Dubai: The desert country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently experienced an unprecedented weather event as heavy rains and a storm struck the nation, sweeping its main city Dubai and leading to widespread disruption of essential services like traffic or air travel. Described as a "historic weather event", it was the UAE's heaviest rainfall in the last 75 years, since the beginning of data collection in 1949.

Even now, the country is struggling to recover from the rainfall as its main airport worked to restore normal operations even as floodwater still covered portions of major highways and roads. The UAE's drainage systems quickly became overwhelmed by the storm, flooding out neighbourhoods, business districts and roads. However, a unique phenomenon in Dubai has left social media puzzled and raised concerns about another alarming event.

Social media is now being flooded with visuals of Dubai's sky mysteriously turning green, which left several in shock. Some users even said that it is a sign of an impending tornado or hail. "Usually when the sky does that, it means a tornado is coming," said one user.

"Sky Turns GREEN In DUBAI! Actual footage from the storm in Dubai today," captioned one user. "Dubai's sky turned green due to heavy rain and a supercell thunderstorm," said another.

People were quick to come up with unique responses. "For a long time now. Dubai has been trying to perform weather miracle.  I think they just got it," one individual said. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; green sky at day, aliens may play!" read another comment. 

Does the green sky mean trouble?

Some social media users raised concerns over the green sky. "Green sky often seen in US storms which cause tornados. Strong updrafts hold a lot of hail aloft. Its the light passing through hail which cause the green colour," one user wrote. Another netizen said, "We get green skies in storms here in Australia frequently - if I see that I get my car undercover asap as it usually means ice in the clouds that usually turns to hail".

Rain is unusual in the UAE, an arid, Arabian Peninsula nation, but occurs periodically during the cooler winter months. Many roads and other areas lack drainage given the lack of regular rainfall, causing flooding. According to Fox News, a common belief is that ice in storms helps to scatter light, making the cumulonimbus clouds appear as if they are green in colour. The more hail and rain are in a storm cloud, the more it makes the sky appear green.

Common producers of these events include severe thunderstorms and derechos - which mean a cluster of storms that produce destructive wind gusts and hail for hundreds of miles. A green sky does not necessarily mean an impending tornado or huge hail, according to the Weather Channel, but its exact cause is still being debated today.

Why did the UAE receive heavy rains?

One reason for the massive rains may have been “cloud seeding,” in which small planes flown by the government go through clouds burning special salt flares. Those flares can increase precipitation. Since 1982, the UAE has been using cloud seeding technology, which is also known as artificial rain. This was taken to new heights by the UAE's Rain Enhancement Program (UAEREP), managed by the Emirates' National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).

However, experts disagreed with this reasoning. With cloud seeding, it may rain, but it doesn't really pour or flood — at least nothing like what drenched the United Arab Emirates and paralyzed Dubai, meteorologists said. Cloud seeding, although decades old, is still controversial in the weather community, mostly because it has been hard to prove that it does very much.

Meteorologists and climate scientists said the extreme rainfall is akin to what the world expects with human-caused climate change, and one way to know for certain that it was not caused by tinkering with clouds is that it was forecast days in advance. Atmospheric science researcher Tomer Burg pointed to computer models that six days earlier forecast several inches of rain — the typical amount for an entire year in the UAE.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Dubai floods blamed on cloud seeding. But, experts opine different theory I DETAILS

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