More rain and bad weather on the way as some schools move online

Drivers urged to take care around waterlogged roads

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More rain is forecast across the Emirates on Thursday and Friday, with some schools taking the decision to move to online learning.

Heavy rain fell throughout the night between cracks of thunder — with more downpours on the way.

Dubai Police said the force received more than 15,000 calls to its emergency number from Wednesday into Thursday, many to accidents on the roads.

The Ministry of Education said government-run schools could initiate e-learning, first introduced during the pandemic, if they wished.

Many private schools in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates are moving online.

“January 26 will be conducted online as per regular timetable. The safety of our students will remain our top priority,” the International School of Choueifat in Sharjah, one of the largest private schools, told parents by text message.

Dubai's education authority, KHDA, said schools were operating normally on Thursday. But the city's head teachers do not need permission to close or initiate home learning if necessary.

Three Gems Education schools switched to online learning on Thursday – Gems Wellington International School in Dubai, Gems Winchester School in Fujairah and Gems Westminster School in Ras Al Khaimah.

"This is due to the unstable weather conditions, with the latter two schools following the directives of the Ministry of Education. All other schools are open as usual," a representative for Gems Education said.

Some Indian schools had previously announced a day off on Thursday to mark India's Republic Day.

“In terms of India Republic Day, all but three Gems Education schools offering the Indian curriculum have closed to mark the occasion," the representative said.

"Gems Legacy School, Gems United Indian School Abu Dhabi and Gems Modern Academy remain open and are celebrating the day with students on campus."

India International School Sharjah switched to remote learning on Thursday.

"We have advised students to remain indoors for themselves and their families' wellbeing," said Manju Reji, principal at the school.

Schools in Sharjah are closed on Fridays since the emirate moved to a four-day school week in 2022.

On Wednesday, authorities in Ras Al Khaimah announced that all government-run schools would switch to remote learning until Monday.

Officials said the move was for the safety of parents and pupils.

The country's labour authority, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, which regulates private sector companies, said employers must “ensure the safety of their employees”. This would include allowing for working from home where needed.

Most food delivery companies took their riders off the roads on Wednesday as the streets became waterlogged.

There were showers throughout the night on Thursday, which had mostly subsided by the morning.

Disruption on the roads is expected, with drivers urged to be cautious around flooded streets.

Weather charts show Thursday and Friday will be wet throughout the day.

Road closures

Roads were also affected in Dubai after the heavy rainfall on Wednesday evening.

The Roads and Transport Authority posted messages online on Thursday morning detailing the closures that would affect residents.

Garn Al Sabkha tunnel is only open towards Sheikh Zayed Road and traffic has been diverted to the intersection of the traffic lights above the tunnel, the RTA said online.

"Please use alternative roads: Sheikh Zayed Road, First Al Khail Street and Al Yalayis street.

"The intersection of Al Asayel Street with Latifa Bint Hamdan Street, both directions of the street have been closed. Please use the alternative roads: First Al Khail Street, Latifa bint Hamdan Street and Umm Suqeim Street."

Officials continue to warn motorists to take care on the roads throughout the period of bad weather.

Updated: January 27, 2023, 6:59 AM