Dubai could experience a fourth day of road gridlock and school closures on Wednesday, as further rains are expected to bring further transport chaos to the emirate.
“We’re not expecting the skies to clear up until Thursday because of a prevailing low pressure area. During the past 24 hours, we’ve already recorded 39 millimetres of rainfall and the inclement weather will persist throughout today and tomorrow,” said Dr. SK Gupta, Senior Forecaster at the Dubai Metrological (Met) Office.
Aside from the torrential rains, the emirate has also been experiencing strong Shamal (northwesterly) winds, prompting the Met Office to issue an adverse marine warning for the next two days. “We’re cautioning people against engaging in any marine-related activities from today to Wednesday due to high waves and strong winds blowing offshore,” he said.
Dubai’s temperature on Tuesday has been relatively cool at 20 degrees Celsius. Gupta said the temperature will further decrease to 17 degrees Celsius tonight.
Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, business is as usual at the Dubai Financial Market and the Dubai International Financial Exchange.
Meanwhile, some schools in Dubai, Ajman and Sharjah have declared Tuesday a holiday and may remain closed on Wednesday. This morning, most schools were open but attendance was far from normal. Lawrence W. Hartnett, the Principal of Kindergarten Starters said that, although the attendance was thinner than usual, the school was still awaiting “a few buses from Sharjah” at 9.30 am, while the school starts at 8am.
Many parents chose not to send their children to school, however, fearing traffic congestion on the roads. “When it rains in Dubai, my children reach school late and come home even later than usual. They miss out most of the classes and are stuck on the roads for hours. It does not make sense to send them to school on such days and hence I decided to let them stay back,” said one parent resident in Sharjah.
Commuters complained about “water-logged conditions” on Dubai’s roads, some came across “floating cars” at different points of the Sheikh Zayed Road. Indrani Bose of Emirates Airlines said: “On a normal day, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to reach the Dubai International Airport from the Springs. After being stuck in traffic for over one-and-a-half hours, I took an exit from Greens roundabout and headed home. There was almost no visibility and I crawled home on gut instinct at 30 kilometres per hour.”
Shildaitya Nandy, who drives a mini, was scared that his car would stall on the water-logged streets. “There is knee-deep water in the Greens area and I am worried about driving ahead. I cannot even go back the way I have come.”
Dubai road chaos, school closures to continue