Cyclone Biparjoy: Storm in Arabian Sea moves northwards to Oman

The wind speed at the centre of the cyclone is 130kph

Oman and its Dhofar mountains on the coast of the Arabian Sea were pictured by UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi in April. Photo: Nasa
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Oman has announced that tropical storm Biparjoy has developed into a severe cyclone.

Its Meteorology Department said that the cyclone, which is around 1,100km from the Sultanate, continues to move northwards in the Arabian Sea.

Forecasters, who are monitoring the storm as it moves near the Gulf, believe that the wind speed at the centre of the cyclone is about 130kph.

The UAE is not expected to see any disruption from Cyclone Biparjoy according to the NCM.

Oman will see high clouds, often the sign of a storm front or change in weather, over the next four days on the coasts of the Sultanate.

Oman was hit by ferocious winds and flooding in 2021 when Cyclone Shaheen devastated much of the Gulf nation.

A dozen people were killed in the country after 150kph winds destroyed homes, flooded streets and forced more than 5,000 people into temporary accommodation.

Two people were also killed in Iran.

It is not the first time that Oman has been affected by extreme weather.

Last year, the country was hit by a devastating flood that killed 19 people.

Heavy rain poured on most parts of Oman during the Eid Al Adha holiday, with 40 people rescued and 19 reported drowned.

Helicopters searched at sea for three people who were swept away by a large wave in Oman's Dhofar region.

Omani authorities said a family of eight also went missing.

Victims included many children and young adults, who were jumping into the wadis for a swim in Rustaq, in the South Al Batinah governorate.

"My school friend did not come back," said 22-year-old Hamood Al Kindi, at the time. "His body was found the next day two kilometres away, down from the wadi."

Omani News Network reported one body was recovered on Mughsail beach and two Omani citizens were found dead after they drowned in one of the valleys of Wadi Al Himli in Rustaq.

Residents in the worst affected parts spoke about the "Wadi Crossing Challenge" that can lead to tragedy.

"You will find that people thinking that it is a challenge to cross the wadi with a four-wheel drive vehicle," said Rashid Al Jabri, a 34-year-old camping enthusiast. "The challenge being that they can safely reach the other side of the valley through the water currents, underestimating the strength of the floods."

Omani police issued an announcement last year that anyone caught crossing flooded wadis with a vehicle would face a week in prison.

Updated: June 08, 2023, 10:34 AM