Cyclone Tej loses power and becomes less dangerous, forecasters in Oman say

Cyclone downgraded to a depression but heavy rain to persist over some areas of Dhofar

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Cyclone Tej has been downgraded to a tropical depression, Oman authorities said on Tuesday evening, with heavy rain continuing to fall in parts of Dhofar governorate.

The Civil Aviation Authority, in an update at 4pm on Tuesday, said while wind would still reach speeds of up to 50kph, the severe weather would gradually dissipate over the next 12 hours.

It said coastal, mountainous and some desert areas in Dhofar would continue to experience variable rainfall, from 20mm to 60mm.

Moderate to rough seas were forecast along the Arabian Sea coast.

Cyclone Tej made landfall late on Monday night in the Al Mahra governorate of Yemen, causing flooding and severe damage to roads and infrastructure.

In Oman, the Wilayat of Rakhyut recorded the most rainfall (256mm) among the cities and towns in the Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates.

Both the Dhalkhot and Rakhyut desalination plants stopped working due to the severe weather but authorities said the latter had resumed operations.

Proactive measures

Abdullah Al Bahdoor, an Omani citizen and resident of Sahalnout in Salalah, said he had escaped the worst of the conditions.

“We received a clear directive to stay safely at home or seek refuge in designated locations recommended by the Civil Defence," he told The National.

"We experienced rain and wind in some areas and wadis started to flow with water.

"Police took proactive measures in positioning officers at Al Haffa beach to ensure people's safety during wave surges and they evacuated residents from older coastal homes.

"We were fortunate to witness no significant damage to our essential infrastructure. However, reports have emerged of some trees and electrical columns toppling due to the persistent strong winds.”

Muhammad Hanif, a supervisor of a student accommodation near Dhofar University, said heavy rain had fallen from 4am until around noon on Tuesday. He said he heard reports of roads being damaged in Mirbat, about 40km from his workplace.

"Most of the students from Muscat have left for Muscat and will return next week," he told The National.

"Only a few of us remain here. I have 25 rooms with almost 60 people.

"A rescue team offered to take us to a hospital for shelter but we feel safe here. We've heard they have about 4,000 people [sheltering] at that hospital.

"Although some roads are blocked, the authorities are taking care of all our needs. We can head to the shelters if necessary. We also have a small supermarket nearby where we can buy our supplies.”

Despite the challenging conditions, support medical teams in Dhofar have been providing services throughout the storms.

The Omani Ministry of Health activated an emergency management centre to mitigate the effects of Tej.

Efforts are also under way to restore essential services that were lost during the height of the storm, such as power that was cut off in most areas of Dhofar, including Rakhyut and Dalkhot.

Updated: October 24, 2023, 5:43 PM