Flooding in the UAE and Oman

During mid-April 2024, unprecedented flooding occurred in the Middle East, specifically in the countries of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. Over the course of a few days, a series of storms produced significant precipitation totals that pummeled the region, which led to extensive flooding that shut down schools, grounded or diverted flights, and caused fatalities.


The Meteosat-9 SEVIRI 6.25 µm captured numerous storms that passed through the region from 14-16 April 2024. The upper-level water vapor channel also observed a strengthening low-pressure system that enhanced precipitation in the UAE and Oman during 15-16 April 2024. In the water vapor animation below, notice that several storms develop on the southeast side of the upper-level trough.


With an emphasis on 16 April 2024, a SEVIRI Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB animation can be seen, that captures storms that develop and spread across eastern Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Oman. At ~12Z, a north-to-south line of convective initiation develops in the UAE/Saudi Arabia region, and advects eastward towards Oman. Outflow boundaries (seen in cyan) are also seen moving southward in eastern Saudi Arabia.


JPSS polar orbiting satellites observed the severe weather as well. Although, the polar-orbiters have a coarse temporal resolution (compared to the geostationary satellites), they provide high spatial resolution imagery at 375-m. NOAA-20 and NOAA-21 VIIRS Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB imagery observed the storms at 0930Z and 1019Z, 16 April 2024.


During the same time period, the SEVIRI Dust RGB observed areas of blowing dust (i.e., in bright magenta/pink) in southern Saudi Arabia. Dust associated with the outflow boundaries can also be seen (pink/purple shades).


The Blended Total Precipitable Water (TPW) product provided insight of the moisture content within the region. Blended TPW observed high precipitable water values (2+ inches seen in red colors) in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The rich moisture plumes aided in the development of heavy precipitation that led to flooding in the region. Note, Blended TPW observes the total precipitable water throughout a column in the atmosphere and does not identify where the moisture is located aloft (e.g., 850mb-700mb layer).


Using the NOAA Satellite Proving Ground Global Flood Products Archive, one can get a sense of the flooding that transpired in the UAE.  A ‘Before’ (7 April 2024) and ‘After’ (17 April 2024) VIIRS Flood Map image comparison shows the extent of flooded pixels (yellow to red pixels) near and southwest of Abu Dhabi, UAE. Noticeable new areas of inundation from the heavy precipitation event can be seen inland, and along highways in the 17 April 2024 – VIIRS Flood Map image. The VIIRS Flood Map product has a 375-m spatial resolution.

This entry was posted in Convection, Dust, GOES, Heavy Rain and Flooding Issues, Hydrology, POES, Satellites, Severe Weather, VIIRS. Bookmark the permalink.

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