RIYADH — Heavy rain lashed several parts of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, inundating streets, creating traffic chaos and triggering power outages. Life paralyzed in several cities and villages, and the authorities announced holiday for educational institutions in affected regions on Sunday.
In Riyadh, at least 90 traffic accidents were reported. Floodwaters disrupted power supply in several parts of the city. Traffic lights at seven major intersections in the city were not functioning. At least 17 cases of electric short circuits were reported.
The Traffic Department deployed 280 patrol units to cover the streets especially those leading to the Janadriya Festival, the horse race and the Riyadh half marathon.
Lt. Col. Nawwaf Al-Sudairy, spokesman for the Traffic Police, said the command and control center received 2,114 reports about water logs in three areas in the city, malfunctioning of a number of traffic lights and numerous car accidents, which did not result in any casualties except damage to vehicles.
In Madinah, several vehicles were damaged as a result of thundershowers accompanied by hailstorm on Saturday. A number of major streets in the city were flooded, traffic lights damaged and a number of car accidents occurred due to low visibility.
Spokesman for the Civil Defense Col. Khaled Al-Johani said the operation room received more than 1,200 calls about damage caused by the rain in Madinah and nearby cities including Rabigh, Yanbu, Badr, Khaybar and Mahd Al-Dahab.
He said a number of motorists who were trapped inside their cars were rescued and about 20 besieged cars pulled out of floodwaters.
The Red Crescent Authority dealt with 19 cases of slipping and took 15 injured victims to hospitals while paramedics treated three cases on the spot.
The volunteering teams at the Prophet’s Mosque took 54 people to ambulances stationed near the mosque. Rainfall was reported in Makkah Saturday evening. Dawadmi and Al-Baha were also affected. Light rain fell in Dammam and its outskirts including Al-Khobar, Qatif, Ras Tanura, Jubail, Khafji and Hafr Al-Batin.
In Al-Jouf, rain started on Friday and continued until Saturday morning in Sakaka, Domat Al-Jandal, Zallum and other cities.
Scattered rain was reported in several other parts of the country while Jeddah had an overcast sky throughout Saturday.