Oman braces for cyclone ‘Mekunu’

The tropical situation in the Arabian Sea, which has intensified into a storm (Mekunu), is expected to make a landfall in Oman on Friday.

The latest weather charts from the National Multi-Hazard Early Warning Centre show the development of the tropical depression on the Arabian Sea into a tropical storm with an estimated wind speed around its centre ranging from 45 knots to 50 knots located southwest of the Arabian Sea at latitude 9.5°N and longitude 57.0°E. The centre of the tropical storm is 680 km away from Salalah and the nearest mass of clouds accompanying the storm is 250 km away from Salalah.

Speaking to the Observer, an official at Oman Meteorology said the major impact of the tropical situation will be in Dhofar Governorate, though sporadic rains are expected in Al Wusta and the areas around Al Hajar Mountains.

“The Dhofar Governorate can expect sporadic rains starting from Thursday morning and following the landfall on Friday and Saturday. We are in touch with the regional meteorology centre in New Delhi, India, and monitoring the tropical condition,” he added.

The Indian Met Department (IMD), meanwhile, in a release said it expects the system to intensify into a numbered tropical cyclone and named it Mekunu on Tuesday. “The Storm ‘Mekunu’ over southwest Arabian Sea moved northwestwards with a speed of 11km per hour during past six hours and lay centered at 4.00am of May 23 over southwest Arabian Sea near latitude 11.00N and longitude 56.00E.”

The latest numerical prediction charts show chances of clouds formations and scattered showers starting from Thursday morning with the centre of the tropical storm likely to approach the coasts of Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates on Friday and Saturday, bringing heavy thundershowers accompanied by strong winds. Rough seas are predicted on the coasts of Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates with wave heights ranging from 5 metres to 8 metres. The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) urges citizens and residents to exercise caution and to avoid crossing overflowing wadis. Fishermen are strongly advised not to venture into the sea.

PACA has urged the public to follow its weather bulletins and reports for updates on tropical storm Mekunu. Dr Mohammed bin Nasser al Zaabi, CEO, Public Authority of Civil Aviation (PACA), has chaired a meeting of an internal committee for the management of exceptional weather conditions. The committee is keeping direct contact with its Dhofar office to discuss the advancement of the tropical situation in the Arabian Sea. Meanwhile, the National Civil Defence Commission and the Multi-Hazard Early Warning Centre on Tuesday discussed the developments of the tropical storm in the Arabian Sea. The meeting reviewed the anticipated effect of the storm on the Sultanate and the preparations for all eventualities.

Dr Al Zaabi also chaired a meeting of internal committee for the management of extreme weather conditions in the presence of all the committee members and with direct link with PACA’s office in Dhofar.
The meeting reviewed the updates relating to the weather condition on the Arabian Sea and the necessary preparations for the worst case scenario. Specialists and meteorologists at the National Multi-Hazard Early Warning Centre at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation are currently analysing the weather charts and monitoring the path of the tropical cyclone.
Vinod Nair