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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Thunderstorms and strong winds cause damage around Doha


Aftermath of the rains
Aftermath of the rains

Mother Nature once again tested the strength of Qatar’s infrastructure last night as high winds, thunder, lightning and flash storms hit the country.

This morning, clean-up efforts were underway as residents reported broken trees in parks and road sides, leaking villas and apartments and damage to buildings across the country.

Localized flooding remains on some key routes, including Al Rayyan Road outside the Qatar National Convention Center, as well as in and around town.

Officials in charge of the state’s public works authority Ashghal and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME/Baladiya) last night gathered to establish an emergency response to the worst-hit areas.

Ashghal said it was monitoring main roads and drainage systems around the country “for rapid intervention when needed.”

Residents can report flooded areas to Baladiya to have them drained through its online system.

While dramatic, yesterday’s storm was not as severe as the heavy rains that struck Qatar in late November and caused serious flooding across town.

A number of landmark buildings suffered leaks, including Hamad International Airport and the Sheraton Hotel, while schools across town were closed as many roads became submerged in the flood waters.

Leaky buildings

There were also reported leaks in a number of buildings, including the Sheraton Hotel and the W Hotel, and mop-up crews were seen clearing up water at Landmark Mall last night.

Broken window at Beach Tower
Broken window at Beach Tower

The winds and rain – which turned to hail in some parts of the country – appeared to have torn off exterior decorations of several towers in Dafna/West Bay.

That includes al Al Areen Tower and at Beach Tower on Diplomatic Street, where a window was blown in at the residential tower’s health club on the 32nd floor.

Meanwhile, others said chairs were blown off balconies, garbage bins were thrown across roads and parking awnings collapsed atop of cars.


Canceled festival

The storm also wreaked havoc at the Passage To India festival at the Museum of Islamic Art park last night.

Plastic gazebos were overturned in the winds and the roof cover of the main stage was torn from its supporting poles, Gulf Times reported.

Broken gazebos at Musuem of Islamic Art Park
Broken gazebos at Musuem of Islamic Art Park

Around 3,000 people were gathered at the park for the festivities, according to Qatar Tribune, when the storms rolled in and cut short the event at around 8:20pm after police requested organizers the Indian Cultural Center evacuate the area. There were no reported injuries.

Around a third of the 37 pavilions were damaged in the winds and some artworks were destroyed, Qatar Tribune added.

The event is expected to reopen today. was also canceled today by authorities over weather concerns.

What’s ahead

Qatar Meteorology Department (MET) had been forecasting rain and thunder yesterday afternoon, which was moving eastwards from Saudi Arabia, but the intensity of the weather caught many off-guard.

For today, the MET said the storms are moving east and Qatar’s weather should become more stable throughout the day.

While travelers said some flights were late arriving at Hamad International Airport last night, the majority of flights appeared not have suffered significant delays as a result of the weather.

Were you affected by the storm? Thoughts?

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