Oman braces for 'most powerful cyclone' in its history

Oman braces for 'most powerful cyclone' in its history
South Oman is bracing for one of the most severe storms in its history, as Cyclone Mekenu is expected to make landfall in the coming hours.
2 min read
25 May, 2018
Oman is bracing for one of its most severe storms in its history [AFP]
Southern Oman is bracing for a huge hurricane, as Cyclone Mekenu moves towards towards the sultanate after causing huge devastation on the Yemeni island of Socotra, causing huge waves and strong gales.

The cyclone has been upgraded to a grade-two hurricane with meteorologists expecting the southern city of Salalah to receive two years of rain in just one day.

Cyclone Mekenu is expected to pummel southern Oman between 4pm and midnight local time, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation reported, saying the south can expect between 200 and 600ml of rain. 

Some are suggesting it could be the most powerful cyclone to ever hit Oman, with thousands of people already being evacuated in Dhofar province.

Salalah's port and airport have been closed in anticipation of the storm, while a source in southern Oman told The New Arab that they are experiencing water and electricity blackouts.

Civil defence teams have been rushed to Dhofar to aid in rescue efforts with winds of 90 knots expected to batter Oman's southern coastline and waves of up to eight metres offshore.

Some phone companies are offering free text messages for customers while the storm hits.

The Royal Oman Police [ROP] urged residents to make their way to shelters opened by civil defence teams.

"Shelters in the Dhofar and Wusta governorates are open and equipped with all necessary supplies. This is in cooperation with the shelter sector and other sectors that fall under the National Committee for Civil Defence," the police said in a tweet.

"The ROP calls on residents of the affected areas to head to the shelters."

Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah is being evacuated, according to local media, as heavy rain already hits Oman's second city.

Cyclone Mekenu hit Socotra on Thursday, with at least 40 people missing at sea following the stormMeteorologists are expecting much stronger winds and rain when the storm makes landfall in Oman.

Oman has experienced several large storms in recent years, including Cyclone Gonu which caused around $4 billion of damage and killed at least 40 people.