Cars in flooded road with engineering designs super imposed

Aleksandr Artt/Shutterstock WRAL/Youtube (Licensed)

Heavy rains, massive flooding in Dubai accused of being caused by cloud seeding gone wrong

The UAE's weather bureau denies using its cloud seeding program ahead of the massive storm.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Apr 17, 2024   Updated on Apr 17, 2024, 11:09 am CDT

Dubai on Tuesday was hit with more than six inches of rain in a single day—roughly double the amount of rain the United Arab Emirates desert city gets in an entire year, prompting conspiracy theorists to blame cloud seeding.

The rainfall marks the heaviest the country has seen in 75 years, with some areas seeing up to 10 inches of rain. For scale, that’s about on par with the amount of rain Hurricane Katrina brought to the areas it most impacted.

The United Arab Emirates storm flooded streets, destroyed infrastructure, and disrupted flights through the world’s busiest airport for international travel. At least one person died in the UAE during the torrential downpour. In Oman, which was hit by a similar scale of flooding, at least 19 people were killed.

Videos of the storm and its impact swept social media on Tuesday and Wednesday, with one user showing how rain came pummeling through a hotel bar’s ceiling.

But the storm, being the anomaly that it is, drew a number of conspiracists to float theories that the storm was man-made.

“They left the cloud seeder on for too long,” one X user wrote, referencing a weather modification technique used by the UAE government to address water challenges its country faces.

That practice—which is frequently subjected to a number of conspiracy theories of its own—did not take place during Tuesday’s storm, the UAE’s weather bureau confirmed. And according to WIRED, UAE’s cloud seeding operations take place far outside of densely populated areas such as Dubai and could not increase rainfall by more than a maximum of 25% annually.

The practice of cloud seeding technology itself is not a conspiracy and the UAE’s program has been publicly known for decades. But conspiracies about the way the technique is being employed in countries outside of the UAE continue to run rampant.

For instance, prior to Tuesday’s storm, one British X user theorized the “government is forcing unnatural amounts of rain on us, to destroy UK farming,” adding “control the food, control the people.”

Now, given the recent flooding, little is quelling speculation about the ramifications of possible cloud seeding.

“Are they being punished by the West using geoengineering to create these storms….,” one account speculated.

Others added religious rationale in explaining why the storm may have occurred.

“Cloud seeding and playing with nature. Trying to be Gods to make the desert green,” one account wrote. “It’s is one of signs of the day of Judgment mentioned by Prophet Muhammad that Middle East will turn green as it once used to be in past.”

In that religious context, many users argued the rain was a message from God over the UAE’s policy toward Israel.

“Reason is very clear it’s a punishment from God they betrayed the kids of Palestine,” one person said.

Commented someone else: “Arab Zionists about to learn about Noah’s ark.”

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

Share this article
*First Published: Apr 17, 2024, 11:02 am CDT