Cyclone Mekunu intensifies as it pounds Oman

28 May, 2018, 09:44 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Floods from Cyclone Mekunu have cut off roads to Hadibu in Socotra. The storm is expected to hit the mainland as a Category 2 hurricane near the Oman Yemen border on the evening

Cyclone Mekunu caused flash flooding that tore away whole roadways and submerged others in Salalah, Oman's third-largest city, stranding drivers.

Underpasses have been flooded as the cyclone drenched the city in water. Strong waves smashed into empty tourist beaches. Five Yemenis and two Indian sailors were confirmed dead, Yemen's fisheries minister Fahad Kafin said.

Yemeni officials in the country's far east regions along the Oman border reported strong winds taking out homes as well as knocking out communication, power and water networks. "It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross south Oman-southeast Yemen coasts as a very severe cyclonic storm between 53°E and 55°E close to Salalah, around Saturday morning".

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The airport will reopen once all risks to aviation have been eliminated, the authority said. About 600 people, mostly laborers, huddled at the West Salalah School, some sleeping on mattresses on the floors of classrooms, where math and English lesson posters hung on the walls.

"It was a scary feeling, as if it was the end of world", Mohammed Omer Baomer, of Oman, told the Associated Press. There is an overall drop in the temperature by a couple of degrees Celsius, but Vidarbha is still simmering, the Met official said.

More than 800mm of rain is expected in Salalah and the storm may be upgraded to category 3, said reports.

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Rescue teams on Friday found alive four Indian sailors who were among 17 who had been reported missing on Thursday when the cyclone hit Socotra's port, and search operations are continuing for eight Indian sailors. Some humanitarian aid from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived on the island just hours after the cyclone receded.

Yemen's government has declared the island of Socotra a disaster zone.

In neighbouring Oman, authorities announced through the official news agency they were taking "necessary precautions" in case the cyclone hits the Gulf sultanate.

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Oman's National Multi Hazard Early Warning Centre on Wednesday predicted the development of the tropical storm in Tropical Cyclone (Category 1) with surface wind speeds ranging between 65 and 75 knots (117-135kmph).

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