Blow away!

Luban weakens but brings rain to eastern Dhofar

Kaushalendra Singh & Lakshmi Kothaneth –

Light to medium rain in Eastern Dhofar and drizzling in Salalah city on Friday started giving indication that the tropical storm Luban is not very far from Dhofar and on way to Yemen it can cause more rain and strong winds on Saturday and Sunday.
Many places in Eastern Dhofar like Hasik, Shoiemiya, Halaniyat and many parts of Salalah received scattered light to medium rain due to movement of clouds from higher to medium and lower levels. The clouds, however, were located mostly in the middle level and are likely to shift to lower levels by early Saturday morning causing more rain in most parts of Eastern and Central Dhofar on Saturday and Sunday.
Talking to the Observer, the forecasters at Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) in Salalah, cited Alert 3, which stated that tropical cyclone Luban dropped down to tropical storm, but there are chances that it might intensify into Category 1 again in another 24 hours.
“With the wind speed of 55 to 63 knots around the centre, Luban’s current status is tropical storm, but there are chances it would intensify and gather speed in another 24 hours,” said Ahmed Ali Kashoob, Duty Forecaster at PACA, Salalah.

Indirect Impact
Since the direction of the tropical storm continues to the west to northwest, there are chances that the western parts of Dhofar like Rakhyout and Dhalkout would receive rains later than the eastern parts and those places might receive more rains when Luban makes landfall in Yemen.
The PACA alert suggested that the distance between the tropical system’s centre and the coast is 430 km. “The nearest convective clouds bands from the coasts is 170 km. The direction continues to the west to northwest and Luban continues to move westward to the north-west towards the coast of Yemen near the coast of Dhofar.”
Salalah thus would have indirect impact of the cyclone and the southern parts of Al Wusta would get scattered rain and active winds estimated between 20-25 knots and sea waves estimated to be 6-8 metres.
Salalah city wore a deserted look on Friday mainly due to hot weather and heat waves. Despite being weekend people chose to remain indoors as weather generally does not become so dry and heat wave is hardly a condition in Salalah.
“We heard about the Mekunu and thought like receiving cold breeze as an aftereffect of storm and rain. But the kind of dry and hot weather we are experiencing for the last three days is something unexpected by Salalah standards. I chose not to go out anywhere during the day. After some drops of rain, it is better but the fear of the storm is still there,” said Salalah resident Pradeep Das.

Tourist spots deserted
Das admitted that he did store enough food, water and other essentials at home to meet day-to-day requirements in the event of storm, rain and issues related to it.
“The rush at the hypermarkets this time was very less compared to Mekunu time, when people did panic buying and most of the shops had long queues at the payment counters. This may be due to people’s confidence in availability of essential goods and regular inspections done by authorities concerned,” he said.
The officials of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) were seen visiting the big and small shopping centres to ensure regular and proper supply of goods. An official admitted that the PACP has alerted all the shopping centres to maintain supply and not to overprice anything taking advantage of current rush.
Hardly any visitor is seen at the tourist sites in Salalah. A visitor at Mughsail said she was the only one at around 11am at Mughsail and saw one European tourist couple after a while.
“I had gone there as part my official assignment. It was very windy and hot. Hardly there was any visitor. The blowhole was active, but it was very difficult to be there due to strong and hot wind,” he said.