Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Extreme Cold Spell

"UAE shivers under extreme cold spell" read a headline on the top half of page one, Khaleej Times, yesterday.

It's downright chilly and somewhat windy in Abu Dhabi. As I write this at 9 o'clock in the morning, it's a mere 46 degrees (Fahreinheit) - about 10 degrees cooler than the normal low in January here. Today's high will be 63 degrees, compared with a normal high of 74 degrees in January. With a lot of moisture in the air, we are really feeling the coolness.

People in Abu Dhabi do not talk about the weather, as a matter of course. It's almost always sunny and warm (if not extremely hot) in the Gulf, and it hardly ever rains. In contrast, where I'm from in New Hampshire (US), the weather is a constant topic of conversation. I suppose old habits are hard to break: I've found myself telling Abu Dhabi friends that New Hampshire had a record 44 inches of snow in December. (Now that certainly is certainly something to talk about!)

In any case, everyone I meet the past few days is saying something about how cold it is. We are pulling out favorite wool sweaters; if we don't wear them today we probably won't get another chance to this year.

So, while the UAE experiences the effects of a shamal (a summer, northwesterly wind) that's blowing dust from Iraq and Kuwait, causing dusty conditions and rough seas here, the weather back in New Hampshire yesterday was unusually mild. It hit 60 degrees in New Hampshire yesterday, according to a friend, which made it far easier for people to get out and vote in the presidential primary.

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