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The UAE government says cloud seeding did not happen before the Dubai floods

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The National Center of Meteorology, a government task force responsible for cloud-seeding missions in the United Arab Emirates, said it had not applied the weather modification technique in the lead-up to the severe storms that caused flooding in the United Arab Emirates. places like Dubai.

The organization told CNBC that it did not send pilots for seeding operations before or during the storm that hit the UAE on Tuesday.

Omar AlYazeedi, deputy director general of the NCM, said the agency “did not carry out any seeding operations during this event.”

He added: “One of the basic principles of cloud seeding is that you need to target clouds early on before it starts raining. If there is a severe thunderstorm, it is too late to carry out any seeding operation.”

On Tuesday, the country experienced an extremely heavy rain shower, with more than 250 millimeters (10 inches) of rainfall in the emirate of Al Ain, according to NCM figures, and more than 100 mm in places like Dubai. Annual rainfall in the UAE averages 140 to 200 mm.

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The NCM’s statement followed an earlier Bloomberg report, in which Ahmed Habib, a meteorologist, had said Tuesday’s rains came partly from cloud seeding. Habib later told CNBC that six pilots had flown missions as part of regular protocol but failed to plant clouds. CNBC could not independently verify the reports.

Cloud Seeding, a process used to increase rainfall, has been an integral part of the UAE’s mission to solve water shortages. Seeding missions were introduced in the 1990s and now more than 1,000 hours of cloud seeding are performed annually.

The NCM said it had monitored the incoming heavy rainfall but did not target clouds during that period, attributing the storm to natural rainfall.

“We take the safety of our people, pilots and aircraft very seriously,” AlYazeedi said. “The NCM does not conduct cloud seeding operations during extreme weather events.”

The Gulf state has experienced an increase in rainfall in recent years and is expected to increase by 30% by the year 2080, according to a January study published in the journal Nature.

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Traditionally characterized by a desert climate and scant rainfall, the UAE has experienced shifts in weather patterns due to climate change.

The UAE government’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority warned X ahead of the extreme weather conditions and urged residents to stay at home and adhere to safety guidelines.

The UAE’s infrastructure and buildings are designed for the weather patterns typical of the region, meaning drainage systems struggled to keep up with unprecedented rainfall, resulting in flooding along many roads and at Dubai airport.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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