At the height of summer, temperatures in Dubai can reach 47 - 49 Celsius. This is usually coupled with excessive humidity levels that often make it unbearable to stay outdoors for too long, particularly in early afternoons. However, the weather is fantastic during winter when the tourist season typically kicks off between November and April every year. Tourists like to spend mornings sunbathing on any of Dubai's beautiful white sandy beaches, or endulging in one of the numerous activities on offer in the city. While evenings are pleasant enough to enjoy a spot of outdoor dining, sipping cosmopolitans at any of the buzzing night burrows, experiencing a beautiful dhow cruise or reveling in the vastness of the desert on a fantastic night safari.
Dubai has experienced a couple of cold winters in recent years, but with very little rain to speak of. In December 2012, a revitalizing rainstorm made its way across the UAE after a long absence. Although it is sunny over 300 days throughout the year, a good downpour once in a while keeps things fresh and the air crisp. In January 2008, Dubai and its neighbouring emirate, Sharjah, witnessed one of the most extreme rainfalls experienced here in recent history. An onslaught of nearly four continuous days of rain left many neighbourhoods under several feet of water - and in some cases metres! It caught many people by surprise and left them scouring to find umbrellas...not an easy item to get in this always-sunny destination.
Visitors during the summer should take note of a couple of important points:
Don't think the heat is an excuse to walk around in a state of undress. Dubai may be a liberal place compared to the rest of the region, but one should still observe the conservative practices of the country. This is even more true if you are planning to travel throughout and visit nearby emirates such as Sharjah, Ajman or the city of Al Ain.
It is also important to take care to avoid heatstroke and sunburn, particularly if you are not used to high temperatures and humidity. Don’t be caught out by a nice sea breeze, or bake on the beach during the hottest time of the day - AND remember to cover up. Use sunscreen, drink plenty of water and wear a hat and a decent pair of UV rated sunglasses. By the way sea temperatures can get up to 35 degrees!
Dubai's visitor should remember that the often-excessive heat outside is countered by air conditioning on the inside. With some of the best and biggest shopping malls in the world, Dubai has the art of air conditioning pinned down. Irrespective of the time of year, it is recommended to carry a lightweight jacket or wrap for excursions inside malls, supermarkets and cinemas because these venues really combat heat with what seems like the fervour of a Canadian winter.