When the desert freezes over

In Dubai right now, the conversation on everyone’s (blue-tinged) lips is the same: the cold windy weather that’s whipping up dust storms galore.

It’s all relative, of course (in the UK, 17 degrees might be considered a chilly summer’s day), but the cool temperatures that are currently hitting our normally balmy city are having a far-reaching effect.

Spotted around the UAE today:

– Mums in winter clothes bought in 1992 (and a man wearing a shawl at the supermarket)

– Security men kitted out with ear muffs

– Nannies (the brave ones) sporting hoodies and hopping from foot to foot at the playarea while watching fleeced-up kids

– School guards swaddled in layers and resembling Arctic explorers

– Tourists fiddling with the air-conditioning units in their hotel rooms to see if they double up as heaters

– Those same visitors then heading to Starbucks for a hot chocolate, rueing the week they chose for a winter-sun holiday

– Cricketers, here for the England vs Pakistan Test match, wondering if they’re playing in, um, England

– Cats sniffing the air outside, turning their noses up and heading straight back indoors

– Business men grappling with their appendages – steady on – their ties, I mean, flapping in the wind at right angles

– Camels wearing leg warmers (joke!)

Given that Dubai plays host to more nationalities than the Olympics, there are two camps among residents: the ‘C’mon get over it! Just man-up…this is not cold” brigade and the “Brrrrr, it’s absolutely freezing’ camp.

You might think we’re all wimps but, believe it or not, the temperature in the UAE’s mountainous regions was set to dip to an almost freezing 1°C today, according to the forecast – and, even more surprisingly, did you know it can even snow in the desert?

Almost three years ago to the day, on the night of January 24-25th 2009, twenty centimetres of snow covered the peak of Mount Jebel Jais in Ras al-Khaimah, one of the UAE’s emirates.

Dubai, meanwhile, is abuzz with ‘will-it, won’t-it’ actually rain? There’s been a few drops already – more like a dog shaking off water than a downpour – but the consensus is it’s going to rain on Monday, meaning the highways will be aglow with hazard lights and cars stopped on the side of the road not knowing what to do.

Puddle-loving kids will be in their element, my own included. Some real puddles to jump in are such a novelty after months of running through the garden sprinklers pretending it’s raining (for the sweetest account of how exciting rain is for kids here, pop over to Mrs Dubai – you’ll love it, I promise, especially if you have little-uns).

As for which cold-weather camp I fall in – well, I’m absolutely loving the climate change, but, yes, I’m feeling it. Dubai’s hot weather thins your blood, you know.

PHOTO CREDIT: Emirates 24/7 News

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