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UAE weather latest: RAK schools closed Thursday AND Friday, but KHDA keeps Dubai schools open despite rain

RAK schools will switch over to home learning on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 January as a precaution against the inclement weather, RAK Police announced on social media on Wednesday.

The announcement was broadcast on Twitter, with the caption reading:

“Due to the unstable weather conditions, the local Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Team in Ras Al-Khaimah decided to shift to remote learning.”

Although this announcement relates to government schools in RAK, some private schools will also be closed. SchoolsCompared was told by a spokesperson for GEMS Education that its RAK-based school, GEMS Westminster School, will stay shut on Thursday 26 January “due to the degree of predicted rainfall.”

The weather forecast is for “heavy rainshowers and storms” across parts of the country on Thursday, according to the UAE National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), with “rainfall of different intensities with thunder and lightning at times over scattered areas with significant decrease of temperature.”


Dubai schools remain open – but are parents on board?

The KHDA, the Dubai school regulator, has confirmed that private schools in Dubai will remain open on Thursday 26 January, despite the predicted rainfall.

In a social media announcement the KHDA posted a screen grab of a historical comment from 2019 in which a student begs for schools to remain open even if it rains, stating:

“The last time it rained during the school year was in 2019! We’ve been saving this one for a long time. 😀 Yes there’s school tomorrow.”

However, the decision has proven unpopular with some users, with both students, parents and teachers commenting on the safety risks of travelling to school in the rain, as well as the possible health and safety risks of being in school while there is heavy rain.

One user, a teacher, stated:

“Last time it rained, my classroom flooded and I had hysterical children in my care while their parents couldn’t get there. Why take chances? It’s really scary for the kids.”

Meanwhile a parent highlighted the impact of the heavy rain-related traffic:

“My son is 8 years old and reached home today at 6.35pm because of rain and traffic. All afternoon he was stuck on the bus.”

Yet another user pointed out that many Indian curriculum schools will be closed on Thursday 26 January anyway, in order to celebrate Indian Republic Day.

Safety in the rain

Although rain might not usually make the news in many other countries, the fact that it is so rare in the UAE means that the infrastructure in many areas is not designed to cope with heavy rainfall.

Even just a few minutes of rain can cause large pools of water to form quite quickly, and, notwithstanding the decision currently to keep schools open, motorists are urged to take extra caution when driving.

Seven people died in the Northern Emirates in July last year when the heaviest rain since 1978 fell in a rare summer storm, reported The National.

RAK Police have shared a video of safety tips for driving in the rain, including:

  • Slow down if visibility is poor
  • Maintain a safe distance
  • Allow for at least 5 seconds in order to come to a complete stop
  • Have your headlights on half beam during the daytime
  • Cool air from the air conditioner will help to remove condensation
  • Drive in the slow lane
  • Only change lanes when it’s absolutely necessary
  • Only use hazard lights when your vehicle comes to a complete stop or when it comes to a complete stop on the side of the road
  • Check brakes and tyres regularly
  • Check your windscreen wiper
  • Avoid mountains and valleys with a high risk of floods

Further information

This is a fast-moving story and subject to change should the weather worsen. We are updating this story as we receive reports from the authorities and schools across the emirates.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Friday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter. You can often find Tabitha on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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