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Flooded streets of a residential community in Dubai during a heavy downpour, April 2024
Photograph: Katiekk /

The latest UAE travel advice as heavy rain causes Dubai airport to flood

The United Arab Emirates has been hit by over a year’s worth of rainfall in just one day

Grace Beard
Written by
Grace Beard

Dubai, normally known for its arid climate and scorching year-round temperatures, has been hit by extreme flooding this week as the UAE saw a year and a half’s worth of rain in just one day. But what caused this extreme weather event – and is it still safe to travel? Here’s everything we know so far about the Dubai floods.

How bad are the floods in Dubai?

Dubai experienced severe flooding this week after heavy downpours on Monday and Tuesday. Footage of cars engulfed in water, streets turned into rivers and flooded homes have proliferated, while schools have shut and Dubai airport has ceased most operations.

Can I still travel?

Those in Dubai who want to travel home will face major disruptions as all outbound flights are delayed for the foreseeable. The airport started receiving some inbound flights on Thursday, but most flights in and out of Dubai have been cancelled or delayed. You should check with your airline for the latest.

UK passengers flying via Dubai with Emirates are entitled to an onward flight if their original flight is cancelled. Emirates should book you on with any airline, so long as the route goes to your final destination. However, with thousands of people waiting for flights both to and from Dubai, you can expect delays.

Have flights been cancelled?

All airlines using Dubai International Airport – one of the busiest airports in the world – have had to divert, cancel or delay flights. On Wednesday, Emirates announced it had suspended check-in for all passengers wanting to leave Dubai for the rest of the day, and British Airways cancelled their flights, too. 300 flights were cancelled and hundreds more were delayed, according to the BBC

Is Dubai airport even open?

Parts of Dubai airport were flooded this week causing the airport to shut down, but the airport is now open, if severely busy and more or less at a standstill. A statement on the airport’s website on Thursday reads: 

‘Check-in at Dubai International (DXB) has reopened for Emirates and flydubai flights operating out of Terminal 3, following the unprecedented weather experienced in the UAE.

There is currently a high volume of guests in Terminal 3 check-in area. Passengers should only come to Terminal 3 if they have received a confirmation from their airline regarding their flight departure. Please contact your airline for the latest information on your flight status.

We are working to process guests as quickly as possible and get everyone travelling to their destination.’

What caused the Dubai floods? 

Excessive rainfall in the region led to the Dubai floods. The city saw more than 142 millimetres falling between Monday and Tuesday. For context, the average rainfall over an entire year in Dubai is around 94 millimetres.

There has been a widespread misconception that the storm might have resulted from cloud seeding, a technique often employed by the UAE where clouds are manipulated to produce more rain. However, weather experts say the storm is consistent with extreme weather events caused by climate change. 

Read more: What caused the UAE storm?

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