Red Bull: Crazy Weather Cancels Training & Other Wet News From Abu Dhabi

  • Mar 9, 2016 6:04am GMT

Unseasonal thunderstorms on the Arabian Gulf resulted in cancellation of today's training flights for the season opening Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Winds at the race airport gusted up to 126kph (78mph) – a rare phenomenon in the area.

A powerful thunderstorm that hit Abu Dhabi at midday on Wednesday halted training flights and because a second episode of severe weather is expected later in the afternoon the Race Committee decided to cancel all remaining flying sessions for the day.

According to a statement from the Red Bull Air Races,

Thunderstorms of this magnitude happen only every few years, say locals. The strong wind and rain also caused the Abu Dhabi Education Council to close schools for "the protection of students and teachers in anticipation of the weather conditions." Road closures were in place in many areas due to traffic accidents and fallen trees. Abu Dhabi International Airport suspended commercial and all other flights, and even the stock exchange halted trading."

The normally calm water of the Abu Dhabi Corniche saw strong waves hitting the floating steel barges that bear the 25-meter-high pylons of the Red Bull Air Race racetrack, causing a few of the Air Gates to temporarily deflate. Such thunderstorms are rare in the region, and pilots are eager to get back in the air on Thursday to gain as much valuable track time as possible before Friday’s Qualifying round.

In other wet news watch Team Garmin pilot Pete McLeod get some underwater evacuation training done on a nicer day below.

Video Garmin: Team Garmin Pilot Pete McLeod prepares for the 2016 Red Bull Air Race season with underwater emergency training in Abu Dhabi.

Photos below video: Red Bull Air Races.