Seen that video of the Burj Khalifa disappearing in a storm? Meet the Emirati storm chaser who shot it

Samreen Hayat

Picture this - it's a dark stormy night, you see the tallest building in the world and suddenly a moving storm sweeps through, engulfing it in its midst.

No, that's not a scene from the next Mission Impossible movie, but a three-minute video that has literally taken the web by storm.

In just over two days, the clip shot by Sultan Bin Al Sheikh Mejren, has received over 2.8 million views on YouTube and turned the man behind it into an online star.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO

 

But Mejren is no stranger to storms of this nature. The 44-year-old Emirati has been hunting storms for well over 20 years, and this video is just the latest taste of his adventures.

"I shot the video on Friday night after 7pm. The storm first hit Sharjah but I missed it. I had lost hope of getting any footage near the Burj Khalifa and was about to pack up and leave," he told Yahoo Maktoob. "I thought the storm is gone, the clouds have disappeared, everything is gone.

STROKE OF LUCK

"But then I saw lightning near Jebel Ali and checked the Emirates Weather Forecast radar, which flashed a tiny reading of lightning."

That's when he knew he had his second chance.

"Suddenly, the hope that I might get the chance [to capture the Burj] returned. From that feeling until the storm - it was a matter of minutes. I have never witnessed a wall of rain and wind like that."


 

Armed with their cameras and equipment, his team had prepared to capture the storm on Friday night, but Mejren's colleagues were unable to reach his location before the storm flew past so he had to go it alone.

"I was preparing three to four cameras in a few locations but I couldn't make it because the storm passed in two minutes!"

He did however manage to get the stunning footage using a Nikon D-800 camera in full HD quality before taking shelter in the car from the violent hailstorm that followed.

Mejren says several people have wondered how he managed to capture the Burj in all its glory and he says the vantage point was his "secret of success".

"I set up on the Dubai Creek channel, which is under construction and is only reachable off-road," he said. "Nothing can stop us from getting the right footage."

PROFESSIONAL STORM CHASER

Aside from his day-job as President of the UAE Weighlifting Federation and a member of the UAE Olympic committee, Mejren runs Samawy Expedition, a group of marine enthusiasts.

"We are an expedition team of storm hunters for over 20 years, specialising in marine and weather phenomena. My team includes professionals from the UAE and around the world," he told Yahoo Maktoob.

Mejren's interest in wild weather dates back to his childhood days.

"I started when I was 12 years old with the camera I had at the time. By 1990 I had invested in better equipment. In this region we hardly get any rain, so when it does rain, we head to the desert and the wadis to capture it all."

Mejren's passion has taken him to Oman and the Indian Ocean. He was one of the first to capture footage from the deadly 2007 cyclone Gonu in Oman, he said.

He has also created a series of documentaries on his adventures and hopes to release them this year.

YOUTUBE STAR

Mejren's video has received well over 3 million views on YouTube and the number is growing by the minute. Viewers have also shared their amazement on Instagram and Twitter. Mejren said the reaction has been unprecedented.

"It has been very exciting to hit millions of views in just 28 hours," he gushed. "There are a lot of people who know who I am and a lot who don't and I like to keep it that way. But now, people say to me, you are an adventurer."

Mejren, who is related to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, says he follows the lead of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan, who has a passion for photography and nature.

Sheikh Hamdan also posted a timelapse clip of the storm hitting the Burj Khalifa on his Instagram page. 

WATCH IT BELOW


 

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