Heavy rains in western parts of Saudi Arabia, including the coastal city of Jeddah, forced flight delays and school closures on Thursday. Two people were killed in the incident, AFP news agency quoted officials as saying.

“Two deaths have been recorded so far,” the Makkah regional government said on Twitter. We urge everyone not to go out unless necessary.’

Mecca region includes Jeddah. It is the second largest city in the state with a population of around four million. Mecca is the holiest city in Islam where millions of people come to perform Hajj and Umrah every year. Two roads connecting to Mecca were closed on Thursday after rains started, state media reported. Although later it was reintroduced.

The city’s King Abdulaziz International Airport Authority said some flight departures have been delayed due to weather conditions and passengers are urged to contact carriers for up-to-date schedules.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported before dawn that schools in the city were temporarily closed as rain was forecast to continue throughout the day.

“Schools near the towns of Rabigh and Khulais were closed to protect the safety of male and female students,” SPA added.

Earlier, King Salman declared a nationwide public holiday until Wednesday after Saudi football defeated Argentina 2-1 in the World Cup in Qatar.

Jeddah experiences winter storms and floods almost every year. Residents here have long suffered due to poor infrastructure. Floods killed 123 people in the city in 2009 and another 10 two years later.

(Dhaka Times / 25 November / SAT)