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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Weather Report

We've been having weather all day long. We've had 100% cloud-cover the whole day, quite strong winds and a little bit of rain this morning. I happened to be in Jumeirah around lunchtime, and thought I'd wander over to the Public Beach to see how many mad Russians were trying to sunbathe in this weather. The answer was 'none'. I was a bit puzzled to see part of the car park under about 4 inches of water, and a Municipality truck pumping the water back into the sea.

As I approached the beach, all became clear. The sea level was about a metre higher than normal. The bottom end of the beach appeared to have been washed away, and there were large puddles of water on the beach and even on the road in places. The sea was still pounding away with very large waves.

On the radio news on the way home, they were saying that five workers had been washed off the Jumeirah Palm Island, and one of them is missing, presumed dead. There was also a fishing boat missing at sea.

I can't help but wonder if this is a kind of aftershock from the tsunami disaster. And I have to admit that after that terrible tragedy I was wondering what the effect would be if a tsunami happened in the Arabian Gulf. I was talking to an engineer about this, who had heard a theory that when the massive natural gas field off Qatar goes into production, there is a possibility that the hugely porous rock that contains the gas could collapse, and this would trigger a tsunami. It's a bit scary.

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