Is it safe to visit Dubai after the heavy rainfall?

Abandoned vehicles on a flooded highway in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
On 16 April, Dubai experienced its heaviest rainfall on record, leading to wide-spread flooding - Getty

Flights to and from Dubai airport remain severely disrupted, after heavy rainfall hit Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

On Tuesday April 16 a storm hit the UAE, causing flash floods on roads and waterlogging in parts of Dubai International Airport. Up to 295.5mm (more than 11in) of rain fell in the UAE – the heaviest rainfall on record.

Dubai International Airport – the world’s busiest for international passengers – closed for a period on Tuesday, with videos showing standing water on a runway as aircraft landed.

The airport has since reopened, but on Wednesday hundreds of services were delayed or cancelled in the aftermath of the storm, and the disruption continues into Thursday with many passengers still stranded at the airport awaiting a new booking.

Here’s everything you need to know if you have a flight to or from Dubai in the coming days.

Is Dubai airport still closed?

No. Dubai airport has reopened, but the airport is warning people only to travel to the airport if they have received a departure confirmation from their airline.

On Thursday April 18, Dubai airport confirmed it had started to receive inbound flights at Terminal 1 (used by foreign carriers) but warned of delays. Later, they confirmed operations had also resumed in Terminal 3.

In a post on X, Dubai Airport wrote: “Check-in for Emirates and flydubai has reopened at Terminal 3. There is a high volume of guests in the check-in area so, please only come to the terminal if you have a departure confirmation from your airline. We’re working to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.”

Emirates posted on X to confirm passengers can now check in for their flights, adding: “Emirates extends our sincerest apologies to impacted customers who have experienced delays and disruption to their travel plans caused by bad weather and road conditions.

“We appreciate how difficult it is for everyone affected. While some customers have been able to return home or reach their destination, we are aware that many are still waiting to get on flights. Our teams are working hard to restore our scheduled operations, as well as secure accommodation and other amenities for affected customers at the airport.”

An abandoned ambulance submerged in flood water on a highway after a rainstorm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Flooding closed roads across the city - Bloomberg

What is going on in the Dubai terminals right now?

Anne Wing, a British tourist hoping to return to Heathrow with her husband and three children, told the BBC: “It’s horrific, we are squashed in like animals – it is dangerous and inhumane.”

She added: “Passengers were shouting and rioting at the connection desk, there were no staff to be seen.”

There have been reports that airport staff have struggled to get food to stranded passengers. Last night, the airport confirmed on social media that food had been distributed through Terminals 1 and 2, and that restaurants in Terminal 3 were open and accepting meal vouchers.

Hundreds of people have taken to X to report on the situation. One, named Vish, said he and his wife were stuck at the airport with a six-month-old infant and a six-year-old boy with no information about their flight connection to Dublin. Another, called Sabah, said she had been stranded at the airport since Wednesday morning with no help to reclaim her luggage or rebook her flight.

A number of videos have been posted on social media, showing busy crowds queuing at a connections desk with one member of staff.

People waiting at Dubai World Central airport because of flooding
Passengers have been pictured stranded at Dubai's airports - Paul Lidwith/PA

What is the weather forecast in Dubai over the next few days?

The rain has now stopped and the weather forecast is clear for the rest of this week. The Met Office gives a forecast of 27C, clear skies and sunny for Friday April 19, with the mercury hitting 30C on Monday April 22. The delays and cancellations that continue today are not caused by ongoing bad weather in the UAE, but are the knock-on effect on the bad weather from earlier in the week.

Is it safe to visit the UAE after the heavy rainfall?

Things have improved now the rain has stopped, but emergency services continue to clear waterlogged roads across the United Arab Emirates.

The message from The Telegraph’s UAE expert, Hazel Plush, is that for parts of the city it is business as usual. She posted on X: “I’m in #Dubai, working/staying on The Palm, where there are zero ill effects from the storm: this is the sunset view last night, and the weather is glorious again this morning. It’s chaos at the airport apparently, but my message is: don’t just cancel your holiday!”

What to do if your flight was cancelled

Passengers affected by a cancelled flight will be entitled to a rebooking option. Emirates says: “Customers impacted by flight cancellations can contact their booking agent, DM us, or visit for assistance with rebooking.”

However, it is unlikely that you will be entitled to a payment of compensation, given that the cancellation was due to extreme weather, which in airline terms and conditions counts as circumstances outside of their control.