Salalah, Oct 13 – Tropical storm Luban unleashed heavy rains in the eastern parts of Dhofar on Saturday.
Sources in the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) said that Luban, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, was some 160-150 km from Salalah (at the time of reporting). While passing through the city on way to Yemen, it is likely to cause heavy rainfall and strong winds.
Satellite images suggest Luban would indirectly affect some parts of Dhofar and Al Wusta.
The eastern parts of Dhofar such as Hasik, Shuwaymiyah, Halaniyat and Sadah received heavy rains because of the storm’s movement from east to west. Thick clouds were seen in Taqah and Salalah city with scattered rains in some places. In all likelihood, Salalah and its adjoining areas would receive heavy rains on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Heavy rains caused landslides on the coastal road near Hasik.
Subsequently, the coastal road between Hasik and Shuwaymiyah was closed for some time. Now it is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles. The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has asked motorists to exercise caution while driving
on the road.
Another road, Tawee Ateer to Mirbat, has also been closed keeping in mind the public safety and likely heavy rain in the area.
Meanwhile, air traffic at Salalah Airport was normal, according to PACA. PACA has urged people to take precautions and avoid low lying areas in view of the likelihood of heavy rains and accompanying strong winds.
“Rely on information only from official sources and not those spread through rumours,” said the authorities.
As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Education has decided to close all schools in the governorate in the wake of unstable weather conditions. Salalah College of Applied Sciences also took a similar decision. It may reopen on Monday.
Shaikh al Mundar bin Ahmed al Marhoon, Wali of Sadah, said heavy rains are a cause of concern, but everything has been smooth so far.
Commenting on the preparations to face Luban, Al Marhoon said: “We have been meeting with all the government units. All teams are ready to face the situation. So far, everything is under control. This morning, we went to various areas to look at the current situation and emergency team members are at respective sites.”
He said some people from low lying areas have been evacuated. Schools, which have been converted into shelter homes, are ready to receive them.
“We have many locations to accommodate the evacuees,” he said.
The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) ensured evacuation of 300 people and shifted them to shelter homes located in the Dhofar Governorate. Among the evacuees are 102 from low lying areas near Mirbat beach and 205 workers in Hasik.
The Civil Defence personnel are fully equipped to handle the situation. They have been provided with all possible rescue equipment and deployed at strategic locations.
The Dhofar Power Company cautioned people not to approach electric columns and transformers at places where there is water logging to avoid electrocution and short circuit. It has circulated the emergency numbers through telecom providers.
Luban is likely to pass the Dhofar Governorate late on Monday or Tuesday morning. It will impact western parts of the governorate such as Rakhyout and Dhalkout.
Dhalkout has been receiving light rain since Saturday morning.
Kaushalendra Singh & Lakshmi Kothaneth