UAE weather: Thunderstorms hit Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Thursday and Friday morning

Remote working and distance learning put in place after heavy downpours across the country on Thursday

Thunderstorms illuminate the Dubai skyline

Thunderstorms illuminate the Dubai skyline
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Latest weather: Cooler weekend conditions follow safety alert over heavy rain

Parts of Dubai were lashed by heavy rain and thunder on Thursday night and Friday morning.

The National Centre of Meteorology recorded downpours over Saih Al Salam, Ghantoot, Al Barsha and Jebel Ali Port in Dubai early on Friday morning, in updates posted on social media.

Heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and lightning were also expected to hit Abu Dhabi by 9am on Friday, according to global weather forecaster Windy, with conditions set to settle by midday.

The public sector and public schools have returned to remote working and distance learning in response to the adverse weather.

The safety measures were directed by the UAE Cabinet on Thursday after parts of the Emirates were lashed by heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

The UAE Media Office said the remote working rule did not apply to those in positions that require them to be present at their place of work.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation urged private sector companies “to apply flexible work patterns” in a post issued on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“Necessary measures need to be taken by companies to ensure outdoor work, which is necessary to resume, complies with the occupational health and safety requirements,” the ministry said.

“Companies also need to ensure the health and safety of workers commuting to and from outdoor work locations.”

Early morning rain affects much of UAE’s traffic

Early morning rain affects much of UAE’s traffic

Abu Dhabi Media Office said online learning would be in place in both public and private sector schools on Friday.

“Due to weather conditions in the emirate, remote work will be activated across government entities and for those studying remotely in all schools tomorrow [Friday] in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra Region,” the media office wrote on X.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority – Dubai's private education regulator – advised private schools to provide distance learning in light of the unstable conditions.

Earlier, Dubai announced that public sectors would also work remotely on Friday, owing to the wet weather.

“It was decided that work tomorrow, Friday, October 27, will be remote, due to the weather conditions,” Dubai Media Office wrote on X on Thursday evening.

“This decision includes employees in all government agencies in the emirate of Dubai, with the exception of jobs that require presence at the workplace.”

Dubai Police also urged passengers departing and arriving at Dubai Airports to use the Metro due to traffic congestion on the roads.

The force said Airport Road must be prioritised for travellers landing at Dubai Airports. However, the probability of flight cancellations remained low as of 8am on Friday morning.

Heavy rain started to move across Dubai and the Northern Emirates into the east of the country on Thursday afternoon.

The downpours in Dubai and Abu Dhabi started early in the day, with thunder and lightning occurring in both emirates on Thursday evening.

The National Centre of Meteorology also reported rain in parts of Fujairah, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah in updates posted on social media.

On Thursday evening, it warned that heavy rain was falling in Ghantoot, Al Rahbah and Al Samhah, as well as other parts of Abu Dhabi.

The NCM posted advice for motorists driving in the wet conditions on social media on Thursday evening.

“Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary, drive with caution and remain vigilant and alert to ensure the safety of all road users,” the NCM posted on X.

“Turn on low beam headlights when visibility is reduced. Follow weather forecasts via official channels and be ready to comply with instructions issued by relevant authorities.”

Motorists in Abu Dhabi were also given advice on how to stay safe in the wet conditions.

“Due to rainy weather conditions across the emirate, drivers are advised to drive with caution, ensure vehicles are roadworthy, use headlights, maintain a safe distance, avoid pools of water and follow warnings on electronic information boards and the Abu Dhabi Police app,” the Abu Dhabi Media Office wrote on X.

Meanwhile, in Umm Al Quwain, police urged motorists to take the utmost caution when driving on the roads, state news agency Wam reported.

The emirate has been experiencing heavy rainfall, strong winds, thunder and lightning since the early hours of Thursday morning.

Umm Al Quwain Municipality raised its level of readiness to cope with the conditions, with priority being given to residential areas and the main roads.

Ahmed Muhammad, director of the transport and public services sector in the municipality, said an emergency plan was in place with teams already working to remove the amount of water on roads to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.

Storm Centre, a UAE group that tracks severe weather, shared footage of a downpour on one of the motorways in Dubai.

Police across the Emirates have advised drivers to slow down in the rain and keep a safe distance between vehicles. In Dubai, police said motorists should not drive with hazard lights on.

On Wednesday, a yellow weather alert was issued for much of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, forecasting rain and low visibility until 8.30pm on Thursday.

A more severe orange alert is in place for the east, with members of the public told “hazardous weather events” were expected.

The weather centre advised people to avoid areas hit by flooding and heavy rain.

The wet and stormy conditions will calm down by Thursday night but will return by 11am on Friday, before eventually settling by 4pm.

Heavy rainfall was reported in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region shortly after 6.20pm on Wednesday.

More downpours were reported in parts of Sharjah and Ajman earlier in the afternoon.

The weather bureau issued an orange alert for parts of Fujairah – warning of the potential for hazardous weather – until 8.30pm at the earliest.

It comes after thunder and lightning hit Ras Al Khaimah on Monday, with eastern parts of the Emirates affected by “accumulated rain”.

The weather bureau warned the wet weather across the Northern Emirates would continue until Friday and possibly beyond.

The unstable weather comes after Tropical Cyclone Tej made landfall in Oman this week.

The NCM said the cyclone would have an “indirect effect” on the Emirates, causing a flow of moisture from the Arabian Sea on the eastern and southern parts of the country, leading to possible rain.

However, rain is expected to continue to lash northern parts of the country, with wind speeds of up to 50kph on Friday kicking up dust and sand that may reduce visibility.

Conditions in the Arabian Gulf are also set to be rough into Friday, before settling from Saturday through to Sunday.

Updated: October 27, 2023, 12:54 PM