Expected high wind, heavy rain and potential flooding have led the government of Oman to declare that Sunday and Monday will be national holidays as Cyclone Shaheen reaches its peak.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the storm was gathering speed and was making landfall in the eastern region and other areas of Oman, Oman TV reported.
“The two-day holiday has been announced to safeguard the interest of all and the Civil Aviation Authority is advising everybody to take precautions in the next two days and stay indoors unless it is important to go out,” a broadcast from Oman TV said.
Omanis said strong winds were lashing trees and making it difficult to drive, with visibility severely reduced on the roads.
“I would say the visibility right now is only 30 per cent. I was driving less than 60km per hour. The wind is blowing dust and the roads are dangerous. The roads are full of leaves as the winds are blowing them everywhere,” Ahmed Al Siyabi, a resident in Muscat, told The National.
Roads are almost deserted and shops have closed as most people hurry home, worried about the expected rainfall that may cause flooding.
“It will rain, that is for sure, because the sky is overcast. Last time when it rained, my living room was flooded and my furniture was ruined. I am now barricading my gate with sand to prevent rainwater from coming in,” Saif Al Hajri, who is living in Alkhuwair in Muscat, told The National.
The last storm was in July during the Eid Al Adha holidays when heavy rains caused flooding, disrupting electricity and water connections.