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Homechevron_rightMiddle Eastchevron_rightSaudi Arabiachevron_rightStorm batters Makkah,...

Storm batters Makkah, killing one man in flood

Storm batters Makkah, killing one man in flood

Makkah: Thunderstorms battered Makkah overnight on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, resulting in one man drowning and spectacular lightning strikes.

When his car was submerged by floodwater, Mohammed Al-Twaim, a teacher at Mina Elementary School, lost his life attempting to escape.

Lightning struck the famous Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower hotel, illuminating the night sky, as pilgrims attempted to circumambulate the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque. Within 24 hours, the storm brought 45 millimetres of rain and gale force gusts surpassing 80 kph, according to Hussein Al-Qahtani, a spokesman for the National Centre for Meteorology, Arab News reported.

The wind knocked over pilgrims outside the mosque, sending crowd barriers slamming across the wet floor. “The scene was very scary,” said Makkah resident Mohammed, who was grocery shopping at the height of the storm. “Everything happened within a few minutes when it started raining in a crazy way.”

Another resident, Abu Mayyada, was out buying cigarettes and petrol when “everything went black in front of me” as the worst of the storm hit, he said. “Suddenly I lost control over the vehicle. I couldn’t see anything so I started listening to the Qur’an on the radio. I didn’t understand what was happening."

According to the Makkah governorate, classes would continue to be held virtually "in the interest of everyone's safety," with schools remaining closed.

The meteorological centre issued a warning of more storms in western Saudi Arabia, including the Makkah region.

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