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Saudi Arabia: When it rains in Riyadh, it pours

It's raining in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, and Twitter users and bloggers are using the opportunity to cover the ‘chaos’, and complain about their local Press.

At Khaled Rambles, Khaled A. writes:

It’s raining heavily in Riyadh at the moment and everyone twitter has agreed to use the following twitter hashtag #RiyadhRain. Since the old media has failed covering this.

EchoDepiction gives us a thorough description here of how it started:

As I am typing this I can hear ambulances in the distance and helicopters flying overhead.   Around 2 o’clock this afternoon,  a very strong rainstorm began its downpour in Riyadh.  As the clouds became more condensed and all sunshine disappeared from the sky making day appear to be night, rain began to pour down rapidly while very strong winds blew sand, trash, trees, and anything it could carry into the streets.  Parents and children leaving school were stranded in the rain and shielding their heads and eyes with scarves, umbrellas, and plastic sacks.

Soon enough:

Within minutes, rain water was running down the roads and into drains in a river-like fashion.  To give you an idea of how strong the wind was,  my car was being moved by it at a stoplight!  Driving past Tamimi supermarkets,  shopping carts and water bottles were rolling down the road.  The first downpour  continued for  at least 20-30 minutes non-stop.

As for damages, EchoDepiction reports:

It has been reported that Al-Faisaliah Tower’s garage has been flooded and one man was trapped down there and drowned.   There have been more than 23 accidents on the Eastern and Northern ring roads, and Korais road going south, as well as exits 9 -11, has been closed.  Several homes and shops have been destroyed from the rain in Dariyyah, Akik, and Ra’id neighborhoods and nearby areas.

The blogger concludes:

People have been warned to remain at home as a stronger rainstorm is expected within the next few hours.   Just turn on the T.V.  The roads have become RIVERS!  Some people are swimming; others are helping direct traffic with a grin on their faces.  Although some people are suffering from this rain, MANY are loving this unusual chaos.  I have never seen Riyadh like this before!

Ebrahim H., meanwhile, posts photographs of the ‘chaos’ here. He also contemplates:

I am still wondering what would happen if Riyadh was Rio De Janeiro, and these corrupted contractors  implemented their projects just similarly to these in Saudi? Disaster!

Rio De Janerio was brought here as a comparison example because Brazil is considered as a third world country similarly to Saudi.

And Little Pink Strawberries also posts photographs of flooded roads and other rain damage and remarks:

Sadly though Riyadh is not equipped for rain what so ever. Anytime it rains you see cars tore up all over the place and the streets are flooded. The city has no drainage system what so ever.

She adds:

So today as the rain started pouring so did my house. Yes I am flooded as we speak. Rain started pouring in from the windows and the air conditioners. I threw blankets, towels, clothing and everything I had to stop it but nothing worked. It was just pouring in like crazy from all the rooms. My furniture is sitting in water.

Rob.in.Riyadh also writes about the storm saying:

This afternoon, as I’m writing this, there are rains and strong winds. I can barely see the outside from my office window. But from what I can see, the streets also have remnants of hail – hailstones being swept away by rain water flowing like a river on the streets. The winds as they blow, sound like howling.

If this is not freakish weather then I think this is the result of  changing weather patterns.

Meantime, the underpasses quickly became flooded and traffic promptly got snarled. I can hear a lot of horns being honked.

Moving on to Twitter, a dedicated hashtag, #RiyadhRain, to cover the rain and comment on it was started. They also have a logo:

The Riyadh Rain Logo

The caption [Ar] reads:

Our hearts are with you, our relatives, the people of Riyadh!

Abdulelah Al-Sabban, who tweets @Lubbaz, comments:

بانتظار جرائد الغد باحر من الجمر .. ليس شماته ولكن لنرئ الحقائق كما هي هنا في تويتر .. #RiyadhRain
I am eagerly waiting for tomorrow's newspapers to see whether they portray the facts like they are here on Twitter #RiyadhRain

In a follow up tweet, he writes:

استمرار انقطاع الكهرباء على مناطق متعددة من الاحياء السكنية بالرياض .. #RiyadhRain
Electricity cuts continue in different neighbourhoods in Riyadh #RiyadhRain

And Rami Taibah announces:

I hereby announce the old gaurd of Saudi media is dead. Twitter's coverage of #RiyadhRain trounces anything on TV & probably tomorrow's NP

And last but not least, Ismaeil posts those pictures, showing the traffic and floods – including entire cars immersed in water – on Picasa and de.caf posts more pictures on Flickr here.

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