Powerful cyclone predicted to pound Oman and Yemen

Powerful cyclone predicted to pound Oman and Yemen
A severe cyclone is likely to hit southern Oman this weekend, as the storm is predicted to intensify to hurricane-level strength.
2 min read
23 May, 2018
Salalah is preparing for another major storm [Getty]

A severe cyclone is forecast to pound the southern coast of Oman in the coming days, shortly after another major storm in the Arabian Sea devastated parts of Somalia and Yemen.

Cyclonic Storm Mekunu is predicted to strengthen to a category 2 or 3 strength hurricane this week and is expected to make landfall on the Yemen-Oman border on Saturday.

"Mekunu is strengthening in [the] Arabian Sea and likely to intensify further into very severe cyclonic storm with maximum sustained wind of 150-160 km/ph it approaches [south] Oman and [southeast] Yemen coasts, with landfall near Salalah 26 May," the UN's World Meteorological Organisation [WMO] said on Twitter.

The cyclone is around 800km from Salalah, Oman's second city, which is home to one of the sultanate's biggest ports. 

The storm is approaching from the Arabian Sea and is expected to reach cyclone strength tonight.

Meteorologists in Oman expect heavy rainfall, strong winds and up to eight metre waves, when the cyclone makes landfall.

The US embassy in Muscat posted a warning on its Facebook page, instructing citizens to avoid travel to affected areas, monitor local media, and seek secure shelter.

Oman's Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) assured the public that it is monitoring the situation and will issue updates as the storm progresses.

"The PACA is ready to follow up on the developments of the weather condition in the Arabian Sea and its impact on the country," CEO Mohammed Nasser Ali al-Zaabi told Times of Oman.

Cyclone Sagar hit Somalia earlier this week, in the Puntland and Somaliland regions of the country.

One person was killed in Yemen when heavy rains hit the south of the country.

It was described as Somalia's "strongest cyclone on record" and is feared to have killed dozens.

Oman has seen a number of major cyclones hit its shored over the past decade, worst of all Gonu in 2007 which killed scores of people and caused at least $4.4 billion in damage.

Two cyclones in southern Yemen in 2015 killed over a dozen people.