Rain Watch

As ligthning blitzed across an unusually dark, grey desert sky, and the angry thunder tried to chase it off to somewhere else where it truly belonged, the kids were bemoaning the fact that their wellies were in Nana’s and Grandad’s house in the Emerald Isle.

‘But why did you not take them back Mummy????’ asked DS1 making my title sound as long as the alphabet.

‘I didn’t think we’d need them, sweetheart’ I replied as my mind cast back to the 5 full suitcases which followed us back to DXB…..One has to be practical  about what one brings back from summer hols, and unfortunately, wellies won’t ever have a chance of making the suitcase cut!   Besides, it hardly rains in Dubai.  Why would one need wellies?

But last week, the weather forecast read something like this ‘thunderstorms with a lot of precipitation’.  I glanced at the headline, and forgot it as quickly as I read it.

Yeah, right.  We’ve heard it all before.  Usually when rain is forecast, this is what happens: a few hopeful drops of rain splash my car windscreen as I pull out of the drive.  The drops are long and splishy.  The sky is overcast.  Thoughts of a day of rain dance through my mind.  Rain in Dubai is welcome for two main reasons: the novelty; and the fact that rain is not all that bad when the temperature is in the 20’s (unlike damp, cold England or Ireland where the rain feels like it seeps directly through your skin, and into your bones to give you that unwelcome chill).

But so often, by the time I get 200 metres down the road, the rain has stopped, and the sun has re-appeared from behind the flimsy, scaredy cat storm clouds.

Excitement rolls over to make room for disappointment, and a lot of muttering about the poor state of meteorology services worldwide and the ‘reverse ‘Michael Fish’ psychology’ ensues!

Those of us from soggy climes feel cheated; more sad, I suspect,  that a touch of ‘home’ didn’t materialise.

Confident in the knowledge that yesterday afternoon’s black clouds were unlikely to produce enough rain to  wash the dusty sand off my much-in-need-of-a-wash car, let alone flood the place,  I set off to the local shops.

When I entered the store, I was greeted with a strange, loud crashing sound coming from the ceiling.  I thought it must be the air conditioning signalling the need for a long overdue service.  But then I noticed people were leaving their shopping trolleys and baskets to run out of the store, and buckets and ‘Caution, Wet Floor’ signs began to spring up around the aisles.

‘What in heaven’s name is going on?’ I wondered as another shopper nearly bowled me over in a dash for the exit.

When I turned to look towards the exit, I noticed a gathering of people clogging up the exit.  Putting 2 + 2 together, I assumed the clattering ceiling noise = a downpour!  I dropped my basket and scuttled to join the other rainwatchers.

My face lit up as I smelled the glorious scent of rain, and a mild air of damp wafted through the doorway.  It was teeming, pouring, bucketing down, lashing, torrential, monsoon-esque – beautiful.  I quickly snapped some photos to share with those back home who would never believe the desert weather!

Now I wished I had brought the wellies!  But really, this downpour was so heavy, I couldn’t let the kids out to puddle jump without the fear of them being washed away down the drainless roads that are commonplace in Dubai.

I eagerly emailed my family and friends the ‘downpour’ photos.  Living in the moment – thank you modern technology for allowing me to take a photo and email it, all within 5 minutes.

An almost instant response from a dear friend was ‘Boo hoo, you call that a downpour?’

That made me laugh.  It was a downpour.  It was a torrential downpour.  I’m Irish, I know what a bloo*y downpour looks like!  The desert was unrecognisable.  Streams of water were gushing through the streets.  With virtually no drainage, roads were flooding.   I wondered if my recently installed artificial grass, would survive the flood……at least my bougainvillea would be happy (as would my gardener as that would mean less watering for him!).

If I could apologise to the Dubai Met, I would direct them to the clip of a teen waterskiing through streets (being pulled by Daddy driving a 4 x 4)……never again will I doubt you!


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