Rain, winds from Saturday

Muscat, Oct 10 – Tropical storm Luban, now categorised as Category 1 cyclone, is at a distance of 600 km from Salalah City, with surface wind speeds ranging between 64 and 74 knots, said the Met Office. The indirect effects of the cyclone — scattered rains — are being felt 150km from the coast of Oman. Salalah residents reported windy conditions on Wednesday evening, said an official source from Oman Meteorology. Isolated rains are likely from Friday. Direct impact of Luban, including heavy rains and fresh winds in Dhofar and Al Wusta, will start from Saturday afternoon, with a maximum wave height of 6-8 metres.
The National Multi-Hazard and Early Warning Centre said Luban has continued to move in the west/northwest direction towards coastal areas of Dhofar and Yemen with chances of further intensification to Category 2 in the next 48 hours.
The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) has urged people not to risk crossing the wadis.
The Directorate General of Education in Dhofar announced that schools in the Governorate of Dhofar will remain closed on Thursday in order to ensure the safety of students and staff.
All hotels in Dhofar have been asked to ensure the safety of tourists and employees and ensure the availability of food, generators and safety guards on the beaches.
The National Emergency Management System held a meeting attended by coordinators of different sectors. The participants discussed the preparations for addressing the effects of the possible tropical conditions.
The committee discussed means of sustaining medical and other live-saving services as well as other requirements to save people and property.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) said it was continuing with its preparations for dealing with Cyclone Luban.
Dr Mohammed bin Saif al Hosani, Under-Secretary, MoH, accompanied by Dr Rashid bin Hamad al Badi, director of emergency services, visited Dhofar to inspect the level of readiness of health institutions to deal with the tropical situation. The ministry will devise a National Emergency Plan for two provinces expected to be affected by the cyclone.
MoH is ready to provide additional health staff, equipment, medicines, materials and medical supplies.
The civil defence sub-committee of Dhofar held a meeting under the chairmanship of General Hamad bin Suleiman al Hatmi, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Customs and vice-chairman of the National Civil Defence Committee.
To a community which has lost many lives and property, a society which has the harrowing memories of nearly 2-day long storm, rains and floods, coping with another cyclone would be yet another challenge.
Learning from the past experience that left scars in the minds and losses beyond imagination, both citizens and expatriates are all preparing for the worst.
The members of the community have formed a voluntary rescue force while the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances (PACDA) has beefed up their presence in the coastal areas.
“We have formed a voluntary rescue and rehabilitation force with people from all walks of life who will be on the spot for any rescue operation along with the PACDA officials”, Mohammed Nizar, a businessman actively involved in the social matters told the Observer.
“We noticed a slight change in weather condition. It’s been windy since afternoon but it’s not very strong”, said Balatha Sadiq, a resident.
“Life is as usual here in Salalah. We are not panicking and there is no panic buying or fear in the air” said Manpreet Singh, Head of Indian Social Club Salalah.

Vinod Nair and Kabeer YOUSUF