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Tropical cyclone Shaheen approaches Oman

Oman has urged residents to evacuate coastal areas. Source: Gulf News. 

MUSCAT: Tropical Cyclone Shaheen bore down on Oman on Sunday, prompting authorities to delay flights to and from the capital, Muscat, and urging residents to evacuate coastal areas.

A child who had been swept away by water was found dead, the state news agency said, and another person was missing. According to reports, Oman’s streams and ravines are overflowing and streets in several governorates, including Muscat, are flooded as Cyclone Shaheen dumped rain ahead of landfall.

Gusty winds exceeding 45 knots were blowing over Muscat.T he winds will intensify further as the wall of the tropical cyclone Shaheen approaches the coastline. The eye of the storm was about 60 km from Muscat and it was carrying top winds of 120 kph or more, a joint statement by the country’s hazard, weather and civil aviation agencies said.

The storm’s centre was expected to hit land during the late afternoon and evening, bringing very high winds and heavy rainfall, but the outer bands of the system were already being felt.

The national emergency committee said the power supply would be cut in al-Qurm, east of the capital, to avoid accidents. More than 2,700 people were put up in emergency shelters.

Most of the country’s five million people live in and around Muscat. Roads in the capital would be open only to vehicles on emergency and humanitarian journeys until the storm dies down, authorities said.

Oman earlier delayed and rescheduled flights to and from the airport of its capital city Muscat to Sunday evening or until further notice due to tropical storm Shaheen.

The national capital is at a standstill, with traffic stopped across the city. Highways, and inside lanes in residential and industrial areas have reported areas inundated with floodwater as incessant rains continue.

Residents of North Al Ghubra, a region known for sea-front residences, have been evacuated as of October 2 night. The residents of premium water-front property Almouj have also been evacuated to a safer area. Many schools and other public utility buildings have been converted into shelters.

Traffic was also suspended in the Governorates of North and South Al Batina and there will be access only for emergency and humanitarian cases as the eye of cyclone approach the land with gusty winds. Heavy rains are expected to reach 500mm.

The Omani government declared a public holiday on Sunday and Monday “due to the adverse climate conditions,” state-run news agency said, and the airports authority said flights would be rescheduled. Flights from UAE to Oman were delayed due to the tropical cyclone Shaheen.