Bad weather returns to UAE, several flights cancelled

Heavy rains and thunderstorms lashed the UAE on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of several international flights, two weeks after Dubai was hit by unprecedented storms that paralysed the emirate for days.
Bad weather returns to UAE, several flights cancelled
Bad weather returns to UAE, several flights cancelled

Dubai | Heavy rains and thunderstorms lashed the UAE on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of several international flights, two weeks after Dubai was hit by unprecedented storms that paralysed the emirate for days.

On Wednesday, the country's National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) elevated the readiness and preparedness levels of the national system to deal with the situation.

While these rains are expected to be less severe than the unprecedented downpour that hit the country last month, the public is urged to take precautions.

On April 14-15, extreme rainfall battered regions of the Arabian Peninsula, with Dubai experiencing the heaviest rains on record since 1949.

Dubai-based Emirates airline announced the cancellation of several flights on Thursday due to bad weather across the UAE as movements at Dubai International Airport (DXB) were reduced.

“Customers arriving or departing from Dubai airport on 2 May can expect some delays as flights are rescheduled,” Emirates said in a statement.

The following flights have been cancelled on May 2: EK 123/124 – between Dubai and Istanbul, EK 763/764 – between Dubai and Johannesburg, EK 719/720 – between Dubai and Nairobi, Ek 921/922 – between Dubai and Cairo, EK 903/904 – between Dubai and Amman, and EK 352/353 – between Dubai and Singapore (EK353 departing 3 May, 12.30 am – UAE time). The airline has also waived rebooking charges to help stranded passengers.

“Based on the expected weather conditions, the Ministry of Interior recommended, in coordination with NCEMA, activating remote learning on Thursday and Friday for all educational institutions, with decisions to be made by the competent authorities at the federal level and officials of local emergency management teams, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and the Emirates Schools Establishment,” it said on Wednesday.

As heavy winds and light rains lashed across the main cities, residents appeared more equipped to ride it out. Remote work systems were advised for all government and private sectors on Thursday and Friday, except for vital jobs that require presence at the workplace and those involved in response and recovery efforts. The Ministry of Interior, in coordination with NCEMA, also decided to close all roads leading to areas prone to flash floods, water accumulations, and dams during the weather conditions.

“They urged the public to stay away from these areas and adhere to safety standards and guidelines, avoid mountainous, desert, and coastal areas,” said a statement. Besides moderate to heavy rain in scattered areas, accompanied by occasional lightning and thunder, a possibility of small hail, concentrated in the western regions, on the coasts, and in some eastern areas have also been warned.

Some flights were disrupted on Wednesday and some events were postponed due to the inclement weather conditions. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said its flight (EY197) from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi Zayed International Airport (AUH) was diverted to Al-Ain “due to adverse weather conditions in Abu Dhabi.” The flight, which was scheduled to arrive in Abu Dhabi around 1.35 pm, eventually landed around 7-30 pm.

In Dubai, the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) announced the temporary suspension of accepting requests for the entry and departure of wooden dhows in Dubai. The PCFC has also advised sailors to avoid sailing during this time to ensure everyone's safety. As dark clouds gathered and howling winds started to beat the windows across the city, residents looked more assured, and definitely better prepared.

Dubai Metro announced the extension of operating hours ahead of expected weather conditions, extending from 12 am to 5 am (the next day). However, the number of stops for these trains was reduced.

“Heavy thunderstorms are forecast in Dubai on May 2. If you're travelling to Dubai International Airport, you may experience road delays. We recommend adding extra travel time to reach the airport and using Dubai Metro where possible,” the Emirates airline's spokesperson was quoted by the local media as saying on Wednesday.

The authorities have also been advised not to sail, and avoid valley areas, torrential rains, and low-lying places. They have been asked to exercise caution while driving vehicles and adhere to the instructions of the competent authorities.

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