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Rare August thunderstorms hit Doha

Rain fell at a time of year that is normally bone dry.

There was excitement in Doha this morning as residents woke to clouds and rain for the first time in months.

August is the middle of the dry season in Qatar and rain at this time of year is rare. In fact, the last time it rained in the capital was March 27.

Rain usually falls in the winter months, between November and April. During the rainy season, the rain can sometimes be heavy and cause flooding.

In November 2016, torrential rain triggered widespread flooding in Qatar, forcing the closure of schools and several roads.

However, between May and October, rain is relatively rare.

Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement saying that the current cloud over the Arabian Peninsula is due to the Intertropical Convergence Zone, known as the ITCZ.

The ITCZ is a band of showers and thunderstorms which encircles the globe near the equator. It is formed by the convergence of the prevailing winds - in the Northern Hemisphere the winds are generally north-easterly, and in the Southern Hemisphere, they are southeasterly. When the winds converge, the air is forced up into the atmosphere, forming the showers.

At this time of year, the ITCZ would be expected to be near the south coast of Oman, but this year it has pushed northwards across the Arabian Peninsula.

This is triggering showers across many parts of the region, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar.

This means that more rain is possible across the country over the next few days. 


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