Oman sees coldest winter days

By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: Feb.4 – For the first time in the country, temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius were reported by several monitoring stations, Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) said on Saturday. Places such as Mazyouna and Qairoon in Dhofar recorded temperatures as low as five degrees Celsius at 7 am. Adam, Bahla and Ibri recorded six degrees, Haima, Izki, Thamrait (seven), Buraimi and Marmul (eight), and Dhalkout, Rustaq and Saham (9). Mazyona, Izki and Dhalkout recorded new minimum temperatures. They had last recorded the lowest temperatures three years ago.

917849Even as the country witnessed its coldest winter in the recent years, there were reports of heavy hail across Musandam. Images of the mountains in the areas being covered with hail or snow were being circulated across various media since Friday morning. “I have seen this before and it was unbelievable that we are in Oman or places known to us as deserts,” a tourist from Europe said in her online post. “No rains and hail today in Khasab, but it is very cold. Things are normal now on the ground too as compared to yesterday,” said an official at Atana Khasab. An official at Oman Meteorology told the Observer that clear skies have been forecast for Sunday, with temperatures likely to rise by two degrees.

While the mercury levels might see a gradual increase in the following days, there could be a possibility of another spell of similar conditions towards the end of the coming week. “We cannot confirm anything now, but there are chances of conditions changing in the coming week,” he said. Meanwhile, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) denied reports that traffic on the Adam-Thamait road was affected due to sandstorms. “The road is absolutely clear for traffic,” it said. Still, it urged citizens and residents to exercise caution while driving due to low visibility in most parts of the country. People were advised to stay away from beaches and waterfronts due to strong wind currents. Three people of Sri Lankan nationality were rescued from a ship that was heading towards the Khasab Port.

917847In Muscat, people gathered at the waterfront late on Friday as strong and high waves lashed the shores. They also braved chilly weather as temperatures were then said to be around 15 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile both national carriers, Oman Air and SalamAir, reported disruption of domestic flights to Salalah due to bad weather conditions. Oman Air said its flights to Khasab were disrupted due to similar conditions in that governorate. As per details available from Muscat airport authorities, all Oman Air flights to Salalah were behind schedule at the time of filing this report, while services of airlines to other cities in the region were back to normal.

“These are the coldest days I have seen in Oman since may be 2008, but I wish there were more rains too in Muscat,” said Hamood, who is from Saham, but stays in Muscat for work. “My mother was worried. She told me not to travel to Saham due to poor visibility on the road,” he said. Today, the sea waves on the coast of Arabian Sea is expected to be to moderate/rough around three meters, and average across the Musandam coast and Sea of Oman to be two metres.