Intense storms and flash floods in the Middle East city of Dubai this Friday morning have halted its events calendar. Across the country, storms began at around 4am local time, with Dubai Police and other authorities issuing public safety warnings shortly after. The National Centre of Meteorology issued orange and yellow alerts nationwide, cautioning residents about potentially dangerous weather conditions for outdoor activities.
One affected event is the Dubai Watch Week, which began on Thursday. It is held in the emirate’s upmarket financial district and serves as the springboard for lavish Swiss watchmakers to announce new pieces.
Attendees this morning were stuck in nearby hotels, namely, Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria and Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton, told not to leave over safety concerns. For now, Dubai Watch Week organizers have said the event is on hold, but the hotels have re-opened their doors, Skift has been told by those staying.
Founded and organized by local watch retail gaint Ahmed Seddiqi & Son, Dubai Watch Week is now in its sixth edition, drawing in close to 20,000 attendees comprising brand representatives, journalists and horology enthusiasts.
Dubai Watch Week runs until Monday, November 20.
Dubai Airshow Goes Ahead
Dubai’s other major event of the week, the Dubai Airshow, is going ahead as planned for its final day this Friday. Far larger than Dubai Watch Week, the airshow pulls in around 100,000 attendees and serves as the place for airlines to sign multi-billion-dollar orders.
In a statement on social media, the country’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said: “The Ministry calls on private sector companies across the UAE to apply flexible work patterns, 17th November, given the current weather conditions.”
“Necessary measures need to be taken by companies to ensure outdoor work, which is necessary to resume, complies with the occupational health and safety requirements.”
Dubai Flights Diverted
The weather has also had an impact on flights into Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest hubs.
“As of 10am UAE time (0600 GMT), 13 inbound flights were diverted to neighboring airports while six outbound flights were canceled,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters. “Dubai Airports is working closely with airlines, control authorities and other service partners at DXB to minimize any inconvenience to our customers.”
*This story has been updated to include Dubai Airport flight delays due to Friday’s severe weather.