The Middle East’s mountainous north typically endures one or two cold waves accompanied by heavy snow and subfreezing nights each winter. High elevations of Iran, Northern Iraq and even Syria see snow each winter.
However, winter 2016-17 has seen Siberian origin cold dig further south than normal. You associate Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman with blistering summer heat, not so much cold but the opening of February witnessed an unusual cold spell which swept the Arabian Peninsula which not only brought snow to the mountains of UAE and Oman as well as biting winds through Dubai but Qatar experienced it’s coldest night on record.
The cold spell brought cool, breezy, foggy conditions to cities such a Doha (below)
Record Cold With Snow & Ice In Oman
While ice formed in muddles in the higher terrain of the Al Hajar mountains of Oman along with a light covering of snow, the typically milder Plains nearer the warm coast, witnessed temperatures below 5C for the first time on record.
Satellite imagery showing the light dusting of snow over Oman.
Why a lot of fog in winter? Check out the contrast between Oman’s cold Al Hajar Mountains and balmy Persian Gulf.
Qatar Shivers In Coldest Night On Record
Last Sunday morning (Feb 5), the thermometer dipped to a new national record low of 1.5C at Abu Samra in Qatar’s southwest corner.
Excerpt from Qatar.net
The lowest ever temperature – 1.5C – in Qatar’s history was recorded in Abu Samra early Sunday, the weather office said.
The previous record was set way back in 1964, when the temperature had dropped to 3.8C in Mesaieed, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department (QMD).
Weather charts also showed that several other places saw a minimum of 5C or lower on Sunday as the country continued to be affected by a “cold wave”.
According to a detailed report issued by the Met department, the Abu Samra monitoring station in southwestern Qatar registered a low air temperature of 1.5C around 6.10am on Sunday.
Explaining the phenomenon, the report said a “cold wave” had been affecting the country since Wednesday (February 1) evening and, as a result, temperatures dropped across the country and the Arabian Peninsula in general. On Saturday, the area was influenced by high pressure accompanied by a cold air mass.
Around dawn Sunday, until 5.40am, the wind speed was moderate and the temperature remained low (9.5C). The wind blew in a southwesterly direction, which provided for a “warm track” as it came from the sea, the report stated.
However, things changed soon after as the wind direction shifted to southeasterly, bringing air from the land and resulting in a “dramatic” drop in temperature – over 7.5C – within 30 minutes, the weather office said, noting that the air monitoring station in Abu Samra is one of the modern automatic stations of the Meteorology department, Civil Aviation Authority.
Meanwhile, low temperatures were recorded in several other places in the country on Sunday. South Qatar areas such as Mesaieed, Karana and Turayna saw a minimum temperature of 4C, followed by 5C in Batna and Al Khor, and 7C in Wakrah and Jumayliyah.
In the capital and its neighbourhood, the minimum temperature was 9C in the Qatar University area, 10C in the Hamad International Airport area and 11C in the Doha airport area.
The maximum, on the other hand, ranged from 15C to 19C in the country.
More is available at http://qweather.gov.qa/NewsDetail.aspx#sthash.VnoLl4Lb.dpuf
Another cold night, light rain predicted
Another cold night is expected in the country on Monday and there is a chance of light rain by the evening, the Qatar Met department has said.
Strong winds and high seas are also likely in offshore areas towards the north by Monday night. The wind speed (northwesterly) in these areas may go up to 23knots at night, with the sea level rising to 7ft in some places.
A minimum temperature of 7C is expected in Al Khor, 8C in Wakrah, Abu Samra and Mesaieed, and 12C in Doha. The maximum temperature will be higher than Sunday, ranging from 18C to 21C in the country.
In a detailed report, the weather office forecast hazy to misty conditions in inshore areas in the early hours, followed by mild daytime conditions. It will also be cloudy and there is a chance of light rain in some places by the evening, while the night will be cold.
In offshore areas, slight dust is expected at times along with partly cloudy conditions. Besides, there is a chance of scattered rain towards the north by night.
Cold Winds Bring Damage In Dubai, Snow To UAE’s Highest Mountain
The same air mass which brought record cold to Qatar also brought snow to the highest mountain in UAE along with temperatures of -2C.
Below was the scene on Mt. Jais (Jabal Al Jais) where it’s only seen snow twice and I believe this occurrence at the beginning of the month is the 3rd time on record. Until 2017, the last occurred in December 2004. This mountain sits on the Oman-UAE border with highest point in Oman at an elevation of 6,268ft while a secondary summit sits on the UAE side at 6,278ft.
Meanwhile in Dubai, chilly gale-force winds caused the collapse of a crane which caused a fire.