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Heavy rainfall, gusts expected; schools and some companies switch to remote learning and work

Heavy rainfall, gusts expected; schools and some companies switch to remote learning and work
15 Apr 2024 20:16

Jessi Amason (ABU DHABI)

The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) has issued a “Be Prepared” (orange) level weather warning, valid until 6pm on Wednesday, for heavy rains and strong winds caused by convective cloud formation in the North and Southeast of the country. 

The centre, in a social media post, urged the public to stay at home during rainy weather unless absolutely necessary, and to exercise caution if they happen to be outside. 

A “Be Aware” (yellow) level warning has also been issued for Wednesday for larger swathes of the northern, eastern, and central-eastern areas of the country.

According to the NCM, a “Be Aware” warning urges the public to be on the lookout during outdoor activities, and a “Be Prepared” warning cautions the public to be on the alert for hazardous weather events.

Convective clouds developed starting on Monday afternoon that were associated with rainfall, thunder, and lightening, over coastal and internal areas. From Tuesday afternoon, unstable weather conditions will begin over the West of the country, which will move towards Abu Dhabi and northern and eastern areas. The quantity of convective clouds is expected to increase during this period, associated with varying intensities of rainfall accompanied by lightning and thunder, and probable hail in some areas. 

A significant decrease in temperatures has also been forecast for Tuesday, along with wind speeds of 25km/hr – 35km/hr that could reach up to 70km/hr, which could cause blowing dust and reduced horizontal visibility. 

Another spell of unstable weather has been forecast from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning, starting in the West and affecting scattered regions of the country. Rainfall of different intensities, accompanied by lightning and thunder and the possibility of hail in some areas can be expected, NCM said.

Wednesday evening is expected to see increased humidity and continued cloud formation over the northern and eastern areas of the country coupled with rainfall, with the clouds gradually dissipating through the night. 

Distance Learning, Remote Work

The UAE Government on Monday announced that based on the directives of the UAE Cabinet, Tuesday, April 16, will be a remote working day for all government employees, with the exception of jobs that require on-site presence at the workplace.

The Emirates Schools Establishment, meanwhile, decided to switch to remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday, to ensure the safety of students and teaching staff.

The Abu Dhabi Media Office announced on Monday that remote study and work will be activated for schools and government entities in the emirate on Tuesday.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Dubai’s regulatory authority for private schools, on its official account on X announced that all Dubai private schools, nurseries, and universities will offer distance learning on Tuesday, following an announcement from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. Per the announcement, Dubai Government employees will also work remotely.

H.H. Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman and Chairman of the Ajman Executive Council, also directed that Tuesday, April 16, will be a remote working day for employees of Ajman government due to weather fluctuations.

The local Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Team in the emirate of Ajman also decided to switch to remote learning for the emirate’s private schools.

The Sharjah Human Resources Department likewise announced that Tuesday will be a remote working day for the employees of Sharjah government.

The local Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Team in Sharjah also decided to activate the distance learning system in all private schools and higher education institutions on Tuesday and Wednesday. All sporting activities and competitions organised by the Sharjah Sports Council have been cancelled due to prevailing weather conditions.

The Ras Al Khaimah local emergency, crisis, and disaster response team has also announced that schools in the emirate will transfer to remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Local Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Team in Umm Al Quwain, in coordination with the Umm Al Quwain Educational Zone, decided that schools will transition to remote learning on Tuesday, and nurseries will be closed.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) called on private sector companies to take precautions in outdoor work environments where it is difficult to suspend operations. 

The ministry urged employers to ensure workers' health and safety during their commute to and from these sites, and issued a circular that stated: "In light of the exceptional weather conditions forecasted for the UAE, and in coordination with relevant authorities across the country, we advise private sector companies to take all necessary precautions and make sure that occupational health and safety requirements are met to ensure the safety of their workers during the expected period of weather fluctuations".

Reporting Emergencies, Safety Precautions

The NCM also urged residents to avoid contact with electrical and metal equipment during storms and to move away from glass windows and metal doors during high winds and thunderstorms. It asked the public to ensure that all windows are shut and that loose materials are firmly secured to prevent them from blowing away in strong winds.

Home appliances should be unplugged during thunderstorms to protect from electrical surges caused by lightening, the centre said.

The public are advised to follow all weather updates issued through official media outlets as well as the NCM’s official social media platforms.

The public are urged to remain at home if at all possible. Those outdoors have been asked to stay clear of construction sites and places where objects could fall or be blown over. They have also been asked to stay clear of tall trees, utility poles, and telecommunications towers. Those outdoors should also avoid mobile phone use unless absolutely necessary during storms.

The Abu Dhabi Police, on its official social media accounts, informed the public that emergency situations, including fallen trees, falling or sloping streetlights, and pooling water can be reported on the police hotline at 933, or via Whatsapp at 026788888.

The Urgent Notifications feature on the Abu Dhabi Police’s smart app can be used to stay informed of adverse weather safety measures, traffic jams, and accidents. 

The Abu Dhabi Police urged all motorists to drive safely, avoid distractions while driving, adhere to posted speed limits, leave a sufficient distance between cars, avoid sudden breaking, and reduce speeds to prevent sliding. 

The police also called on beachgoers to check weather conditions before heading to the beach in the coming few days, and called on companies to adhere to safety standards.

The Dubai Police urged the public to exercise caution, especially when driving, advising motorists to slow down while driving, stay alert, refrain from visiting the sea and beaches, and avoid valleys and areas prone to water accumulation.

The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) on Monday issued an SMS message requesting that its customers contact an approved electrician in the case of power interruptions caused by the weather. ADDC stated that the electrician must check the main distribution board for damage, turn off all the sub-breakers, switch on the main breaker, and gradually turn on the sub-breaker. If an issue occurs, the electrician should isolate the faulty sub-breaker and repeat the second step.

If issues persist, ADDC requested that customers dial 991 for electricity emergencies and 992 for water emergencies.

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