Alert as Cyclone Mekunu nears Oman coast

The disaster management apparatus in Oman has activated the level of its alertness with the tropical cyclone (Mekunu) expected to intensify into Category 2 and make a lanfall in Oman by Friday.

In its evening bulletin, the National Centre for Multi-Hazard Early Warning has issued a statement on tropical storm turning into a Category 1 tropical cyclone-Mekunu. It added that the epicentre of the cyclone is about 500km from the city of Salalah, while the nearest block of convective clouds is 40km from the coast.

The wind speed around the centre is estimated at 70 to 80 knots (126- 144 km/hour). Rough seas have been predicted along the coasts of Dhofar and Al Wusta with wave heights ranging from 5 to 8 metres, while along the Sharqiyah coast, the wave height will be around 3 to 4 metres.

“The arrival of the tropical cyclone to the coasts of Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates can lead to heavy rains/thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds on Friday and Saturday,” the bulletin said. An official at Oman Meteorology added: “The cyclone is expected to touch the eastern part of Socotra Island on Wednesday and Dhofar and Al Wusta coasts on Friday, and will be accompanied by heavy rains and intense winds.”

The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has asked citizens and residents to cooperate with the authorities and follow the guidelines during the extreme weather conditions, while the National Committee for Civil Defence (NCCD) has urged people to evacuate from low-lying areas adjacent to coasts, wadis and other areas vulnerable to floods. The

Ministry of Commerce and Industry has called on citizens and residents of the two governorates not to over-buy as all materials will be made available for them. The ministry said fuel distribution companies will continuously provide necessary supplies at all stations in the two governorates.

Vinod Nair