A rare blizzard hit the United Arab Emirates on 3 February, covering the mountainous regions of the Gulf nation in 10cm thick snow and forcing the cancellation of several high profile events, including the Tour of Dubai bicycle race.

The arid region was hit by an icy blast this weekend which caused the temperature in the mountains to drop to -5C. Winds reached between 75 and 80km/h (45 and 50mph) across the region. Coastal areas were hit by rough seas.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology in the UAE issued a weather warning, urging drivers to be extra cautious on the roads due to poor visibility and powerful winds.

Despite the warning and the bitter cold, Emiratis ventured outside to build snowmen and spent the weekend sledging and enjoying the frosty conditions.

Heavy winds of 80km/h caused a building crane to topple over onto one of Dubai's main motorways, the Sheikh Zayed Road. The collapse sparked a fire which left one person with injuries and destroyed three cars.

The storm also led to the cancellation of part of the Tour of Dubai, a five stage cycling race. The race organisers said they had cancelled the fourth stage in accordance with extreme weather protocol.

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