Authorities in Makkah ready to ‘face heavy rains in coming days’

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand Mosque as Saudi Arabia welcomes back pilgrims for the 2022 haj season. — Reuters/File

Saudi authorities said on Tuesday that their efforts are underway to confront any unprecedented rain situation in Makkah city amid the warnings of torrential rains issued by the Kingdom’s weather agency.

The National Center of Meteorology on Monday issued a forecast of thunderstorms alongside active winds and dust with hail showers. The weather agency also noted that the situation could trigger torrential rains in different parts of the country including Al-Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders region, Hail, Najran, Jazan, Asir, Al-Qassim, Riyadh.

As a result of the weather condition, visibility could fall to zero, said the Saudi agency. 

The weather agency also noted that the dust would be accompanied by active surface winds, which could hinder visibility and cause high waves over the coastal areas.

The agency also cautioned authorities about unusual situations that could emerge as a large number of pilgrims and worshippers are visiting the holy place in the month of Ramadan.

According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the number of visiting pilgrims has exceeded 950,000 since the commencement of Ramadan.

In his directions, the General President for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, told Agency for Security, Safety, Confrontation of Emergencies and Risks “to prepare and operationalise field plans to confront the rain” with reference to the predictions made by the national weather agency.

The General Presidency has recruited more than 200 supervisors and observers, and 4,000 workers. It has also used more than 500 pieces of equipment to confront the rain situation.

There are also different government agencies working in collaboration within the Grand Mosque.

Sheikh Al-Sudais, in his directives, also said authorities “to exert maximum efforts and utilise all the available means and capabilities to ensure the safety of worshippers and pilgrims.” 

He also ordered them to “remain alert and be ready to meet any situation”. Moreover, he also said to keep cooperation with all relevant authorities and “intensify the efforts of the presidential agencies operating in the Grand Mosque.”

The centre said that “those areas affected included the holy capital, Jeddah, Jamoum, and Bahra, in addition to open areas and highways, adding that it would begin from 9:00 a.m on Tuesday and continue until 3:00pm.”

The General Presidency also highlighted that it is all prepared for the coming 10 days of Ramadan — the last holiest days of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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