'Apocalyptic' superstorm strikes world's busiest airport as families sleep on floor

Passengers wait for their flights at the Dubai International Airport
Passengers wait for their flights at the Dubai International Airport in Dubai on April 17, 2024. -Credit:AFP via Getty Images

Dubai has been hit by an 'apocalyptic' superstorm, causing chaos at the world's busiest airport for international travel. Shocked tourists were left stranded and forced to sleep on the floor at Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as torrential rain and flooding grounded dozens of planes.

The severe weather caused widespread flooding across the UAE, with more than 4.7in of rain falling before 4pm on Tuesday - equivalent to the typical yearly average.

Luxury cars were seen 'floating' through submerged roads surrounding the airport, while inside, there were no empty seats left as desperate travellers prepared for a long night ahead. The airport confirmed a halt to arrivals at around 3.30pm GMT, before announcing a 'gradual resumption' over two hours later.

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In a statement shared on social media, Dubai Airport operators advised: "We advise you NOT to come to the airport, unless absolutely necessary. Flights continue to be delayed and diverted."

They added: "Please check your flight status directly with your airline. We are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions.", reports the Mirror.

A total of 17 inbound and outbound flights were cancelled during the morning and three were diverted, Dubai Airports said in a statement. Operations at DXB were later suspended for 25 minutes on Tuesday due to an intense storm, the airport said in a statement. Services from Birmingham Airport have also been affected, with some arriving late.

torrential rain that caused floods across the UAE and Bahrain
-Credit:ATIF BHATTI / ESN/AFP via Getty

Outside the walls of the airport, footage from those trapped in the wet conditions has shared video and images that resemble an apocalyptic world.

Abandoned cars have been left to gather and pile up as they remain submerged in heavily flooded roads. A handful of brave drivers battling the elements have been spotted sitting atop their roofs and waiting for rescue under the black sky.

The deep pools of water had overtaken streets lined with luxury vehicles which have been seen floating aimlessly after their drivers scrambled for escape.

A clip shared on X early on Tuesday showed entrepreneur and YouTuber Jordan Welch trapped in his Rolls Royce in Dubai as deep water flooded the road. The metro operating hours have now been extended till 3AM tonight. "Meanwhile, the unprecedented weather has put fear into the heart of a nine year old boy in Bahrain. He confessed: "I like to play in the rain, but for the first time it scares me.

The body of a child was recovered on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 18 with two people still missing, according to emergency authorities as reported by the official Oman News Agency. The news agency had previously reported on Sunday that nine schoolchildren and three adults tragically lost their lives when their vehicles were swept away in flash floods.