RIYADH: A prominent Saudi scientist said that stormy winds knocked down the tower crane that crashed through the roof of the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Friday.
Professor Mansour Almazroui, director of the Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research at Jeddah-based King Abdulaziz University (KAU), asserted that “high speed winds caused the falling of the crane.”
Almazroui said that “lightning was also observed to strike the crane before falling as per a videoclip.”
Images and videos shared on social media showed the horrifying scenes of lightning hitting the crane, the falling crane, and the dead and the injured. The crane boom pierced the roof of the Grand Mosque, bringing down huge piles of concrete and leaving bodies lying amid pools of blood on the floor.
He said that “it was a very painful accident.”
Almazroui explained that “strong convective activity started to develop Friday over Makkah between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and turned into heavy thundershower with strong winds that gusted up to 65 km per hour at 5 p.m.”
“That’s why the temperature dropped within a few minutes from 40°C to 25°,” he added.
Predicting inclement weather conditions in days ahead, Almazroui said that there will be contrasting swings in the weather around the Arabian Peninsula, including Makkah.

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