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UAE Battles Unprecedented Weather: Widespread Disruptions as Storms Rage

Just days after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) grappled with severe flooding earlier in April, the country has once again been hit by torrential downpours, leading to the cancellation and delay of several flights at Dubai’s airports. Amidst the escalating weather crisis, residents, including professionals and students, were instructed to remain indoors, attending work and classes remotely as reported by Khaleej Times.

An orange alert was activated on Thursday as the UAE became the epicenter of heavy rains and booming thunderstorms. In anticipation of this bout of weather disruption, the country had been on high alert over the past few days. People were cautioned to exercise extreme caution, with safety guides disseminated across various sectors. Schools switched to remote learning protocols and corporate entities were prompted to sanction work-from-home policies. As a precautionary step, recreational spaces such as parks and beaches were temporarily closed.

The Dubai government mandated telecommuting for state employees on the 2nd and 3rd of May due to the tumultuous climate besieging the emirate. The UAE’s national disaster management body had recently reaffirmed the nation’s preparedness for these harsh weather events, citing that all respective governmental agencies had been primed to counter the expected meteorological variances.

Experts from the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) clarified that the forthcoming weather conditions were not projected to mirror the intensity of the storms that occurred on April 16th. Having said this, officials had convened to strategize and implement a raft of precautionary actions to mitigate the adverse effects.

In light of the situation, the country declared that all government schools would pivot to online learning on the 2nd and 3rd of May. The directive was later echoed for private schools in Dubai, where virtual classes were declared for the same dates in anticipation of the unstable weather.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced that this decision enveloped all private educational institutions, including nurseries and universities. Citing operational difficulties induced by weather disturbances, five flights scheduled to land in Dubai were rerouted, while nine incoming and four outgoing flights were scrubbed off from the timetables according to a Dubai Airport spokesperson.

Travelers journeying from Dubai were advised to allow additional travel time due to potential road congestion, with Dubai Metro being recommended as the primary means of transportation to the airport terminals where possible.

Emirates echoed the sentiment of disruption, revealing that a number of their flights had to be canceled as a precaution against the adverse climatic conditions across the UAE. The airline alerted customers of potential schedules reworking and consequent delays. Flydubai, too, reported operational delays and suggested that passengers add extra time for airport commutes, keeping abreast of any updates via their website.

Air Arabia, with operations coursing through Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah, echoed this advisory, warning passengers to anticipate longer travel times to airports. Furthermore, Etihad Airways notified users of the Etihad bus service, which connects Zayed International Airport to Dubai, to check in early for their transfers.

On the international front, Indian-based airlines including IndiGo, Vistara, and SpiceJet, reported disruptions in their flight schedules due to the inclement weather plaguing Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Abu Dhabi. IndiGo had specifically informed their passengers over social media about the affected operations and potential road blockages that could hamper land transport.

These events underscore a crucial period for the UAE as it manages the debilitating effects of extreme weather patterns, once again highlighting the urgency and importance of effective disaster preparedness and management in the face of increasingly unpredictable global climate phenomena.