Heavy rains lash Duqm as Hikka downgraded to storm

Muscat: The category 1 tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea, named Hikka by the Maldives, has been downgraded to a tropical storm with surface wind speed around the centre between 45 and 55 knots.

Duqm city and the Al Wusta region reported heavy rains since 3 pm on Tuesday compared to Masirah where rains stopped after initial heavy showers in the morning.

“It started raining heavily in Duqm from 3 pm and most of the areas are flooded with water entering some apartments. Electricity is still available, while the strength of the rains has weakened a bit,” a resident at Renaissance Village Duqm told the Observer over the phone.

All aircraft, both passenger and cargo flights, that originate from or head towards six countries that share airspace with Oman, have been advised to use alternative routes.

Duqm Airport station recorded at 6:25 pm wind speed of 52 knots with gusts of up to 67 knots accompanied by heavy rain in conjunction with the approach of the tropical cyclone Hikka.

The tropical cyclone was moving westward towards the coasts of Al-Sharqiya and AlWusta Governorates with the landfall expected to be between Al Wusta and Ras Madraka(Duqm) in the few hours, Oman Meteorology said at 5 pm.

“Latest Weather chart analysis at the National Multi Hazards Early Warning Center indicate that the tropical storm ‘Hikaa’ is located over western of Arabian Sea at longitude 58.6 East and latitude 19.9 degrees North with estimated surface wind speed around the centre between 55 and 65 knots (119 km/hr), a statement from Oman Meteorology said.

The direct effects over Governorates of Southern Al Sharqiya and Al Wusta started from the afternoon, Tuesday, September 24, associated with heavy rain ranging between 60 and 100 mm and gale winds ranges between 55 and 65 knots.

Rough sea state is expected over the coastal areas of South Al-Sharqiya and Al-Wusta with maximum wave height ranging between 4 and 6 meters. Storm surge might cause seawater
inundation over low-level coastal areas. The sea state will be moderate along the rest of Omani coasts with maximum wave height between 1.5 and 2.5 meters

The Public Authority for Civil Aviation urged the public to take precaution and stay away from low-lying areas and avoid crossing wadis.