Lifestyle & Belief

Saudi government to citizens: don't believe foreign weather reports


A Saudi woman looks at a publication during the annual International Book Exhibition in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on March 8, 2012.


Fayez Nureldine

The Saudi government told citizens to disregard foreign weather reports on Wednesday in response to a US weather warning about a low pressure system in the Red Sea area, according to Arab News.

The announcement came hours after the Crown Prince and minister of defense held talks with US Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel in Riyadh. Conversation about the weather was presumably not on the agenda. 

Nevertheless, the Saudi government seems to have strong feelings on the matter. 

The General Presidency of Meteorology and Environment Protection's spokesperson, Hussain Al Qahtani, told Arab News that the wealthy gulf kingdom may see a "transitional climate period" -- more on that in a report later, he promised -- adding: “Individuals shouldn't’t take any notice of such reports no matter how credible the sources are.”

Apparently, the US report, which Arab News did not specify other than saying it came from a website, was quite worrying. 

Dr. Ali Ashqi, a professor of Climate and Environment at King Saud University, also took issue with weather predictions issued outside the kingdom, telling Arab News that yeah, rain is expected, "but this doesn't’t mean that there will be heavy rains that will lead to catastrophe."

"There are foreign websites that transmit sensational news and rumors but we should always rely on local experts to arrive at a sound conclusion," he said. 

While Saudi Telecom warned citizens to expect rough weather and lots of rain in the Red Sea region at the end of the month, Arab News cited government officials as saying the storm does not pose any grave danger.