Qatar residents welcome the first rain of the winter

Rain in Doha

Lesley Walker

Rain in Doha

It’s been a long time coming, but finally the first raindrops of the season fell in Doha this afternoon.

After drizzles in northern and western Qatar yesterday and earlier today, residents reported seeing light showers in areas including Old Airport, Bin Omran, Dafna/West Bay and Onaiza shortly after 3:30pm.

They spread to the Pearl-Qatar shortly afterwards.

After a short burst, the showers mostly dried up, but Qatar Meteorology Department (MET) reported clouds and a chance of thunderstorms for later in the afternoon.

Gustnados

Earlier, wind and dust storms which appeared to be like mini-tornadoes were spotted in northern areas of Qatar, near Al Khor.

The MET described these as “gustnadoes,” which are known locally as Alafour.

These are strong whirlwinds at the front of a storm line.

“It happens as a result of strong descending  winds from cumulus clouds which sometimes lead to dust mounting up in a rotational movement. This phenomenon doesn’t last very long as it usually subsides gradually during a short period of time,” the MET added.

Weather forecasters have been predicting the rain would finally come this week, ending a long dry spell and heralding the start of winter.

This year’s rain has arrived later than usual, six weeks into the official “rainy” Wasmi season.

And there’s more of it to come.

Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist at Al Jazeera English, said showers could continue into tomorrow, while the weekend is forecast to be wetter:

Getting ready

Authorities in Qatar have been preparing for the wet weather.

The rain emergency team at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) met this week to finalize contingency plans.

And in the case of localized flooding, it tweeted a reminder of its emergency numbers to call:

How do you feel about the rain? Thoughts?

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