Dubai: A cold air mass will affect the country from Thursday until the weekend, leading to a significant drop in temperatures across, even to below freezing and a chance of snowfall over the mountains on Friday.

Weather will be unstable this weekend due to a deep low pressure associated with cold air mass in the upper layers and other factors.

“This situation is not only affecting the UAE but the surrounding area. The instability is in the south of Iran and the extension of the trough is affecting our area. This is associated with strong winds and will bring the coldest air mass for this winter,” a forecaster from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology told Gulf News.

Temperatures will significantly drop starting from Thursday and continue to drop on Friday.

“The temperature may fall below zero degree over high mountains, specifically Jebel Jais because it’s over 1,900 metres and could even fall below 0°C. If there is any precipitation in the area when the temperatures drop to 0°C or even 1°C to 2°C, there is a chance of snow,” the forecaster said.

The surrounding areas in Ras Al Khaimah will have an average temperature of between 18 degree Celsius and 22C. The rest of the country will have below 20C on average.

Sub-zero temperatures in the Jebel Jais are not a new phenomenon. Cold snaps do happen in the UAE and the UAE’s highest mountain sometimes gets covered in snow.

In December 2004, the first heavy snowfall in living memory for residents was recorded on the mountain of Ra’alat Al Jais, also in Ras Al Khaimah. It covered an area spanning 1km.

This happened again in January 2012 and three years earlier in January 2009 when the mountain had around 20cm of snow extending over 5km. The extreme cold spell brought the mercury down to -3°C on top of the Jebel Jais mountains.

The lowest temperatures are recorded in the UAE every January with an average minimum temperature of 12.9°C.

On Thursday and Friday, forecasters said there is a chance for rain mainly in the coastal northern area and the islands. The rainfall probability extends towards some internal areas.

The Jojobet rest of the country will be generally cloudy.

Beachgoers are advised to avoid going to the sea as both the Arabian Gulf and the Oman Sea will be rough becoming very rough. The Arabian Gulf is expected to have offshore wave heights of 14 feet on Thursday up to 16 feet on Friday. The Oman Sea will have up to 9-foot-high waves offshore on Thursday, rising up to 12 feet on Friday.

North-westerly wind will freshen, gradually becoming strong that will cause blowing sand and dust and lower visibility to less than 1,000m in some places.

Winds will weaken gradually by Saturday night and Sunday morning.


UAE cold spells at a glance

January 08, 2014

The cold weather in the UAE was a result of westerly and northwesterly winds that pass over the region in December and January.

December 16, 2013

People felt the bite of cold conditions across the country as a spell of wintry weather swept across the region. Cold Shamal (northwesterly) winds had swept across the UAE for several days, causing a significant drop in day and night-time temperatures.

January 22, 2013

Al Ain residents sought shelter as the mercury dipped below zero in a cold snap which gripped the country. The cold front swept across the UAE, according to the national weather bureau. Temperatures in all corners of the UAE were the lowest that year.

January 25, 2012

The Jebel Al Jais in Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE’s highest mountain, was covered in snow amid a sub-zero drop in temperature.

January 23, 2009

The Jebel Al Jais mountain in Ras Al Khaimah was covered in snow, bringing temperature down to -2C. The stormy weather left behind more than 20cm of snow.

January 10, 2008

The temperatures plunged to near freezing point again in some parts of the country. Jebel Al Jais in Ras Al Khaimah was the coldest area in the UAE with temperature dipping to 1.4 degree Celsius. The temperature dipped to 6 degree Celsius Al Ain.

December 28, 2004

Heavy snowfall for the first time in the UAE, leaving mountains covered in a blanket of white. The snow fell on the mountain of Ra’alat Al Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. The temperatures dipped below zero during the night.

— Compiled by Gulf News Archives

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