Torrential rains and high winds lashed parts of the Gulf on Tuesday as the death toll from storms in Oman rose to 18, many of them children.

Flights were cancelled in Dubai, the region’s financial hub, while schools were shut in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Flooding hit many areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, and cut off major roads, snarling traffic and leaving cars stranded.

Dubai’s skies, usually electric blue and cloudless, darkened to night-like conditions in the mid-afternoon as a second storm front blew in.

The storms were expected to continue on Wednesday, the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology said.

Some inland areas of the desert country recorded more than 80 millimeters (3.2 inches) of rain, approaching the annual average of about 100 mm.

The weather board “urged residents to take all the precautions… and to stay away from areas of flooding and water accumulation” in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Bahrain was also hit by heavy rain and flooding after being pummeled by thunder and lightning overnight.

The storms descended on the UAE, Bahrain, and areas of Qatar after passing over Oman, where they caused deadly floods and left dozens stranded.

A child’s body was recovered on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 18 with two people missing, emergency authorities told the official Oman News Agency.

Nine schoolchildren and three adults died when their vehicles were swept away in flash floods, the news agency reported on Sunday.

With AFP