Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon…Temperatures above 50C in Fujairah

Just when I was writing (or gloating) about Fujairah being cool or coolish, in contrast to some of the other emirates, two reports have been dispatched by the Gulf News and The National about the soaring temperatures in Fujairah on Sunday 31 May.

GN reported:
Temperatures in the UAE surged as high as 50.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology said.

The sweltering 50.2 degrees was recorded in Umm Zamool in Fujairah.

"The country's airports and harbours have been informed to take precautionary measures," a spokesperson for the centre said.

The spokesperson said the centre notified the Ministry of Labour to inform private companies and establishments to abide by the midday break rule to protect workers from heat stroke and exhaustion.

Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director General at the ministry, said instructions have been issued to tighten control at construction sites.

He called on companies to provide workers with shade, drinking water and first aid in cases of emergency.

"No cases of exhaustion or heat stroke have been reported. The temperature in Fujairah yesterday was unusual," Bin Deemas said.

A forecaster said humidity reached 100 per cent in some parts of the country on Sunday.

Today The National was providing some explanation for the heat, from meteorologists who were speaking of the type of wind:

"A forecaster at the Dubai Meteorological Office attributed the soaring heat in Fujairah to a 'föhn winds effect', in which dry air develops on the leeward slope of a mountain."

“Because Fujairah is on the east coast behind the Hajar mountains, we get drier air coming down and getting warmer,” he said. “The Shamal goes over the mountains and when the air comes down it gains temperature and heats up, and since it’s dry, it heats more quickly.”

This explanation makes greater sense as some earlier reports were predicting cooler shamal winds on Sunday. The föhn winds are common in summer times on New Zealand’s Canterbury Plains with rain or moisture being dumped on the western side of the Southern Alps and the winds being dried as they come down from the mountains to the east coast.

The National continued:
“The duty weather forecaster at Fujairah Airport said the current spell was the hottest he had experienced. “I have never personally been in 50-degree weather before,” he said. “The temperature reached 50 degrees at around one o’clock, but that only lasted for 2½ hours. As the wind direction changed it brought cool air from the ocean, bringing the temperature down to 30 degrees. Fujairah often sees large temperature variations in a matter of a few hours.”

Links for full reports:
Temperature Soars Past 50C in Fujairah, Gulf News, 1 June 2009.
May Bows Out at 50C to Usher in Summer, The National, 1 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: ‘Slow down’ is the advice from authorities for workers in the UAE heat. It is hot work for fishermen on the Fujairah beach.

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