25 November 2009 is an unforgettable day for the people in Jeddah, the second largest city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). On that day, Jeddah turned into a disaster zone following a short heavy rainfall event that triggered flash floods leaving 122 fatalities and considerable losses. Numerical experiments using the Pennsylvania State University-National Center for Atmospheric research mesoscale meteorological model (MM5) have been performed to investigate the event. It was caused by a short quasi-stationary mesoscale convective system that developed over Jeddah and lasted for about 8 hours. Rainfall totals computed by the model exceeded 400 mmin some localities in the southern part of Jeddah city and to the north of Jeddah in Thuwal city. The limited available observed rainfall totals, atKingAbdulAzizInternationalAirportand wadiQaws rain gauges, and Jeddah’s weather radar observations corroborates the ability of the model to reproduce the spatial and temporal characteristics of the rainfall event. A synoptic environment characterized by warmRed Seasurface temperatures and high humidity in the low levels of the troposphere. A stationary anticyclone centered over the southeast of theArabian Peninsulaconcentrated the water vapour flow to a narrow passage over Jeddah. Simulation results suggested that the development of a mesolow by latent heat release, as well as cyclogenesis induced by Al Hejaz escarpments, could have played an important role in enhancing the event by providing low-level convergence and enhanced upslope winds, and upper level atmospheric instability.
Cite this paper
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