A couple from Chalfont St Peter were ‘left in the dark’ after being stranded in Dubai during the worst storm the country has ever seen. 

Sue and Steve had expected to fly out of Dubai on Tuesday evening, April 16, before their journey was disrupted by a massive storm, bringing the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the United Arab Emirates.

Over 24 hours, the autocratic nation was hit with the equivalent of two years’ worth of rainfall, with floodwater covering major highways and roads.

Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, urged travellers to change their plans “unless absolutely necessary” and warned that flights would continue to be delayed and diverted into Wednesday, April 17.

Sue and Steve, who were flying to the UK with Emirates on their way back from Australia, were among 45 passengers told to disembark their flight before take-off on Tuesday to “balance the load” amid the unprecedented downpour.

They told Mail Online that they were then “left in the dark” waiting at the airport before learning “by chance” that they had been allocated seats on the next flight out of the country.

Amid the chaos, Steve said only 17 of the 45 people who had been taken off their original flight managed to grab a space on the second one.

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Sue said the conditions of the first plane they boarded had been “appalling”, adding: “They had duct taped one of the emergency exits and they told another family to get off because a child was sick.

“It was an absolute nightmare.”

Dubai normally sees little rainfall year-round because of its arid desert climate.

The state-run WAM news agency called the storm “a historic weather event” that surpassed “anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949”.

Authorities have offered no overall damage or injury information from the floods, but at least one person is known to be dead.

In a message to the nation on Wednesday, Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, said authorities would “quickly work on studying the condition of infrastructure throughout the UAE and to limit the damage caused”.

Jeff Masters, a meteorologist for Yale Climate Connections, said the flooding in Dubai was caused by an unusually strong low-pressure system that drove many rounds of heavy thunderstorms.

Scientists also say climate change is responsible for more intense and frequent extreme storms, droughts, floods and wildfires around the world.