Oman battens down the hatches as tropical storm Shaheen approaches

Public advised to take precautions, keep away from low lying areas and avoid crossing wadis

2A15W4X Sur, Oman on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. Alamy

Oman's Civil Aviation Authority said on Friday that tropical storm Shaheen was expected to intensify into a Category 1 tropical cyclone in the next 24 hours and directly affect coastal areas, including the capital Muscat, from Sunday.

"The centre of the storm is about 650 kilometres away from Muscat Governorate and the closest convective clouds band associated with the storm is about 500km away," the authority said on Twitter.

The storm moved from eastern Pakistan and is heading towards the eastern Omani town of Ras Al Hadd. The public was advised to take precautions, keep away from low lying areas and avoid crossing wadis.

Residents in Ras Al Hadd and the next town of Sur told The National they are taking the warnings of the storm seriously.

“There are hardly any cars on the roads now. The marketplace is empty and very few shops in the streets are open. The sky is overcast and is getting darker every minute. We hope it will not be as bad as predicted by the met office report,” said Mohammed Al Mukhaini, 38, in Ras Al Hadd.

Farmers also say that are readying for the worst and moving their farming equipment to safety.

“I have already put all my farming machineries and tools in the shed but I am worried about my crops, like fruits and vegetables, which are growing very nicely now. Let’s hope when the storm comes, it will not be as bad as predicted,” said Khamis Al Musallam, 44, a farmer in Sur, in the eastern region.

Fishermen are also worried because their boats are more vulnerable, anchored on the beach, but are hoping for the best.

“We cannot take our boats home. We pulled them to the beach and we hope the weight of anchors on the sands will secure them from the strong winds. We can only carry home nets and the outboard machines, which we are now loading in our trucks,” said Ali Al Junaibi, a fishermen from Sur.

The last storm to hit Oman struck in July during Eid Al Adha, causing floods, ruining crops and disrupting electricity and water connections.

Updated: October 1st 2021, 1:56 PM
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