Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

All schools in UAE to close on Wednesday due to rain

Schools to close for safety of pupils while motorists are given list of tips for driving in stormy conditions

All schools in the UAE will be closed on Wednesday because of "unstable weather conditions".

The Abu Dhabi Government Media Office announced the closure of schools in the city for pupils' safety.

The Ministry of Education, which oversees schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, followed because of the bad weather and poor road conditions.

Schools are expected to reopen on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Police issued tips for motorists planning to drive in the rain.

It advised drivers to steer clear of puddles, drive slowly, keep a safe distance between vehicles, check tyres before setting off and use windshield wipers.

Police also said the speed limit would be dropped to 80kph on main roads to avoid any accidents related to speeding and aquaplaning.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority advised care and "conscious action" from the public, calling on everyone to follow weather updates. It also advised seafarers and aviators to remain on ground on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the National Centre of Meteorology said a major weather front was approaching the country, with rain and thunder forecast to hit on Tuesday night or early on Wednesday.

Charts from the bureau and global forecasters show a storm approaching from the north-west of the Arabian Gulf, likely to reach Dubai before Abu Dhabi.

The expected weather prompted an earlier warning from Abu Dhabi Government Media Office, urging motorists to take care while driving and for people to keep checking the bureau for updates.

It said rain clouds associated and strong wind would sweep over the country.

The government issued a "Be Aware" yellow alert, advising residents to be on the lookout if planning to go outside, across the west coast.

The Arabian Gulf, was assigned a red "Take Action" alert, calling on seafarers to be "extremely vigilant" because "hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast".

The strong winds are expected to blow dust and reduce visibility in some parts of the UAE on Wednesday. Winds may reach up to 45kph by the coast.

Temperatures could reach 31°C in Abu Dhabi and 30°C in Dubai, the bureau said.

By Wednesday afternoon, rain will probably be falling across most of the country, sweeping eastwards from the Gulf.

The skies are expected to clear by Thursday afternoon ahead of a dry but cool weekend.

While bad weather is a rarity across much of the UAE, downpours can be torrential when they do occur.

“It’s a time of transition between summer and winter, so the pressure system changes quickly and creates unstable weather,” Ahmed Habib, a meteorologist at the NCM, earlier said.

Last week a storm swept across the Emirates causing flooding and widespread damage as cranes were knocked over and trees uprooted.

The Ministry of Interior sent out a warning asking people to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary until conditions calmed.

Updated: November 20, 2019 01:55 PM

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