A flash flood alarm was activated for the first time in Jordan’s Ancient City of Petra. Sirens blared just minutes before a torrent of water fed by the recent heavy rains came flooding into the Ancient City.
Severe weather including record rainfall and flooding has affected parts of the Middle East since late October, 2018, with many people losing their lives, and with some still missing.
The last fatal flash flood which struck Petra was in 1963 when 22 people lost their lives. Shortly after a dam was built, designed to bar the mouth of the Siq canyon and reroute the waters of Wadi Musa and to stop water from entering the canyon that leads to the Al Khazneh (The Treasury)
The dam is a fairly true reconstruction of what the Nabataeans did to control Wadi Musa between the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD.
The flash flood system was triggered for the first time, through a computer in the Petra Authority’s control room. The computer is connected to eight rain forecast systems and two water detection stations placed in the area, within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of Petra.
The network generates instant data allowing officials to measure possible danger and warn people by the time the water reaches Petra.
The 4,000 tourists were able to seek higher ground before being evacuated from the city.