Heavy rains that have continued since late April have caused severe flash flooding in southwest Yemen, causing buildings to collapse and killing at least 13 people in the region. Further thunderstorms in the coming days may cause additional flooding, AccuWeather forecasters say.
The hardest-hit areas were in the provinces of Sana’a, Ibb, Shabwa and Hodeida in southwest Yemen, officials said. The Associated Press. This is also where the deaths occurred from the weekend to the start of this week, as daily thunderstorms hit the area.
“Series of slow thunderstorms regularly develop in southwestern Yemen at this time of year,” said Jason Nicholls, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.
The humidity of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden can lead to a setup that is ripe for thunderstorms containing heavy rain, Nicholls explained.
“Flooding in Yemen is not uncommon,” Nicholls added. “There have been several major floods dating back to 2013. Some are related to cyclones, but many are due to thunderstorms like [Yemen] just experienced. “
As the rain falls over the rugged terrain, normally dry streams can quickly fill with precipitated water.
As of May 4, initial reports indicate that around 3,730 families, or 22,380 people, have been affected by heavy rains and flooding, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Reports say shelters for families have been destroyed and roads in the area have been blocked. The number of affected individuals could be higher, as many areas remain inaccessible.
OCHA said humanitarian partners “are now implementing the national flood preparedness plan and mobilizing to scale up the flood response” for the country. This includes preparing to deliver food to those who have lost their rations or food supply amid the floods.
Despite the lingering chances of rain over the weekend, the storms are expected to become less powerful.
“There may continue to be daily thunderstorms in the area until the weekend, but the precipitation appears to be lighter and less widespread than in recent days,” Nicholls added.
The lighter rains will provide an opportunity to begin cleanup and salvage efforts across the region.
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