Deadly Oman cyclone downgraded to tropical storm

Deadly Oman cyclone downgraded to tropical storm
At least three were left dead as torrential rains and strong winds hit Oman's southern coast on Friday.
2 min read
Torrents of water sweep through the Omani capital Muscat following heavy rains [Getty]

Cyclone Mekunu was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday, a day after it left at least three people dead and more than 40 missing in the southern coast of Oman.

The storm had intensified to a category two cyclone as it hit Oman's Dhofar and al-Wusta provinces on the Arabian Sea, battering the coast with torrential rains, strong winds and massive tides.

The national civil defence committee said on Saturday the cyclone had subsided to a tropical storm but was still pummelling the country with heavy rain and winds at some 56 miles an hour.

The cyclone has gone inland and is heading northwest into Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter, but heavy rains are expected in Oman into Sunday. 

Oman police reported that a man died after floods swept him away with his car near Salalah, a day after a 12-year-old girl died after a gust of wind smashed her into a wall. 

Civil defence teams said they had saved hundreds of people including 260 foreign sailors trapped at sea. 

Earlier in the week, five Yemenis and two Indian sailors were confirmed dead after Mekunu hit Yemen's Socotra island on Thursday. 

In Salalah, rains had almost stopped on Saturday, an AFP photographer at the scene reported, but many streets were still under water and nearby valleys were flooded.

Most damage was limited to agriculture, with farms submerged in water or swept up by winds topping 105 miles per hour. 

Oman has experienced several large storms in recent years, including Cyclone Gonu which caused around $4 billion of damage and killed at least 49 people.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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