Dubai: It’s not fog, it’s just haze, according to the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) in Abu Dhabi. But, don’t be fooled, it’s going to be back on Sunday evening. And it’s going to be a monster of a fog – visibility reduced to less than 50 metres.
Mohammad Al Khageh, a meteorologist at NCM, confirmed to Gulf News that most of the morning fog has lifted from around the country and only a little haze remains.
He said: “The haze will lift completely shortly. However, we expect the fog to form again at 7:30pm tonight. The situation will be the same like this morning. There will be dense fog and the visibility will drop to less than 50 metres in some areas. And this situation will continue until tomorrow morning, up until 11:30am.”
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The NCM is also expecting fog to continue until Tuesday, and they continue to urge motorists to be extra careful when driving, especially in the northern areas of the country and on highways.
Additionally, those flying out of the country are advised to check their flight timings before heading to the airport as the fog could affect some of the flight timings.
On Sunday evening, 10 flights were diverted to Ras Al Khaimah airport due to fog.
Al Khageh added: “The flights will definitely be affected, if the visibility drops to less than 50 metres. Flights will be delayed until visibility improves.”
Will the monster fog affect your health?
According to Dr Lalit Taori, a general practitioner based in Dubai, it can affect those in the vulnerable age groups, such as young children or the elderly, and those with previous medical issues, such as asthma.
He said, “People with allergies and asthma need to be careful. The fog will not have a big impact on people’s health in general. But, the weather is also quite chilly, so people should be properly dressed in winter clothing, especially children.”
People can contract viral infections, but Dr Taori reiterates that this is due to the weather in general and not a direct impact of the fog. Humidity usually causes people to perspire, but since the temperatures are low, Dr Taori states that it will also not affect people adversely.
- Avoid windy areas.
- Wear sweaters, winter clothing.
- Cover your children’s ears to protect them from the cold.
- Stay hydrated.
Flights delayed, motorists warned as heavy fog covers UAE
Heavy fog continued to cover parts of the UAE on Sunday, reducing visibility and resulting in several flight delays and diversions.
Satellite images of the fog showed almost two-thirds of the country covered in thick fog from the northern and eastern parts in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah down to Al Ain and stretching towards Dubai and the interior parts.
— المركز الوطني للأرصاد (@NCMS_media) December 24, 2017
Dubai Airports reported that several flights were delayed and a few were cancelled on Sunday. As of 8am, it said that flights from Milan, Vienna, Amman, Hyderabad, Munich, and more flights that were scheduled to land at around 6.30am onwards were delayed. A total of 53 inbound flights were diverted to neighbouring airports, said a Dubai Airports spokesperson.
Earlier flights after midnight were diverted but were also scheduled to land at Dubai International Airport's Terminal 1 and 3.
According to flightradar24.com, a number of flights were delayed at Dubai International Airport, with an average delay time of 78 minutes.
On its Twitter page, Emirates said fog will impact arrivals and departures.— Emirates airline (@emirates) December 24, 2017
In Abu Dhabi, seven flights coming from Perth, four from Tokyo, two from Islamabad, and one flight from Jeddah were also delayed. At least 14 Etihad Airways flights were delayed on Sunday, according to its website.
On Saturday, the airline also reported delayed or cancelled flights due to heavy fog in Abu Dhabi on Friday night and Saturday morning.
The airline said that affected passengers have been given alternative accommodation and that it was monitoring weather conditions.
Police warn motorists
Motorists on Sunday morning faced yet another day with heavy fog, as road visibility dropped to less than 100 metres.
The thick fog led police across the UAE to issue warning to motorists to drive slow and safe, and not to switch on their hazard lights.
Dubai Police warned drivers on major highways busy routes to leave enough distance between vehicles ahead and not to overtake vehicles.— Dubai Policeشرطة دبي (@DubaiPoliceHQ) December 24, 2017
Sharjah Police urged motorists to drive with caution due to the fog and low visibility, in order to avoid traffic accidents.— شرطة الشارقة (@ShjPolice) December 23, 2017
The National Centre of Meteorology also issued a cautionary message to motorists, advising road users of low visibility that dipped below 100 metres.
In Abu Dhabi, police warned motorists that they could be fined Dh500 with four black points if they are found violating the road traffic rules during the foggy weather conditions.
Brigadier Khalifa Mohammad Al Khaili, Director of the Traffic and Patrols Department of Abu Dhabi Police, urged motorists to exercise extra caution while driving during the fog and maintain distance between vehicles, avoid overtaking and use headlamps.
Foggy weather to continue
The NCM said that the foggy weather is expected to continue until Tuesday.
Temperatures across UAE were also higher than they have been in the past week, with the lowest recorded temperature in Abu Dhabi's Barakah area at 11 degrees Celsius at 7.15am on Sunday.
Fog will peak during the morning and into the night, with the level of dense fog continuing into Monday morning. The fog is expected to lift at around 11am, confirmed Dr Ahmad Habib, a meteorologist at NCM.
He told Gulf News: “There is still a lot of fog over scattered areas, especially over the northern emirates. But, even Abu Dhabi and Dubai are also experiencing heavy fog formation. In some areas, the visibility is still very low – between 100-200 metres. So the warning regarding safe driving is still valid.”
The NCM is expecting the weather to be the same on Monday morning, with very high chances of fog formation, especially in the northern and eastern areas of the country, mainly in Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain.
Dr Habib said: “There is high pressure in the surface and upper air levels. And the humidity levels are very high, reaching 100 per cent in certain areas. The temperature is also cooling. All these together form fog. This will be the case through the week. Maybe the areas will change, but the visibility will be low.”
The weather bureau said that Sunday's weather will be fair to partly cloudy in general and hazy at times.
The weather recorded by 8am was down at a cool 19 degrees Celsius, with expected lows of 12 degrees Celsius in coastal areas, between eight and 16 degrees Celsius in internal areas, and 10 to 16 degrees Celsius in the mountain region.
Also on Sunday, light to moderate winds will blow across the country, while the relative humidity will increase at night and into the early morning over most of the internal and coastal areas.— المركز الوطني للأرصاد (@NCMS_media) December 23, 2017
Humidity is forecast to increase during the night and early morning, bringing a chance of fog formation.
On Saturday, the fog started at 7:15pm in Sweihan, Al Rahba and Yas Island. The suspended vapor gradually blanketed most of the country's interior and coastal areas.
The lowest level visibility on Saturday was recorded at 50 metres in Sweihan, Al Maktoum International Airport, Abu Dhabi Airport and Zayed City.
The weather bureau predicts the formation of fog and the deterioration of horizontal visibility on roads, especially the coastal, internal and northern regions, during this night and early on Monday morning. Get more weather updates here
With inputs from Mariam M. Al Serkal, Rabab Khan, Dona Cherian, Janice Ponce de Leon and Anwar Ahmad