Cyclone Shaheen's path: Map updates as UAE avoids worst of storm

The storm weakened on its approach to the Emirates after battering Oman

Latest: Al Ain Cyclone Shaheen alert winds down leaving residents relieved

Cycloon Shaheen "lost energy" on its approach to the UAE after leaving a trail of destruction in Oman.

Al Ain was placed on high alert and schools switched to remote learning in northern parts of the country as authorities stepped up safety precautions.

Coastal areas were braced for rain, rough waves and high winds.

But by Monday afternoon regions of the UAE expecting a storm were met with clouds and minimal rain as Cyclone Shaheen weakened inland.

Abu Dhabi authorities issued a notice for schools to return to in-person lessons, construction work to resume and for Covid-19 testing and vaccination tents to open as well as Jebel Hafeet.

Parts of neighbouring Oman have been hit by flooding, forcing hundreds to flee.

Forecasters said the storm weakened after making landfall in Oman.

The cyclone sent large waves crashing into Oman’s coast on Sunday morning, with heavy rain and wind reaching 120 kilometres per hour.

Here is all you need to know about Shaheen, including the latest updates on its movement via a live weather map:

Where has Cyclone Shaheen reached landfall?

Cyclone Shaheen was formed from the remains of Cyclone Gulab, which began as a depression in the Bay of Bengal on September 24.

Cyclone Gulab lashed India’s eastern coast with heavy rainfall but then weakened as it moved west across the country, before intensifying again as it reached the Arabian Sea on India’s western coast, becoming Cyclone Shaheen on Friday.

It has since entered the Arabian Gulf, hitting northern Oman and south-eastern Iran on Sunday morning.

Fifty-two people were injured in the southern Iranian provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan, as rains and high winds lashed port cities including Chabahar.

Five fishermen are reportedly missing off Iran.

To the south, the bulk of the cyclone hit Oman on Sunday morning.

Muscat and other coastal areas have been the worst hit. Thousands of people have been involved in evacuation operations and emergency services are on the highest state of alert as widespread flooding damaged electricity and submerged cars.

The government has declared a two-day national holiday on Sunday and Monday and urged people to stay indoors.

As of Monday afternoon, eleven people had been killed and hundreds more forced to flee.

Where is Cyclone Shaheen headed next?

Cyclone Shaheen is moving west across Oman.

UAE authorities warned it could affect the Emirates on Sunday evening and Monday.

The storm is expected to bring torrential rain to Al Ain from Sunday night. Pupils at schools in the city have been instructed to return to remote learning for Monday and Tuesday.

As of Monday afternoon, Al Ain had escaped the worst of the storm.

The UAE only experienced light to moderate rain as a result, with less than a quarter of an inch having fallen by 8.30am since it made landfall.

“Because the source of power is the sea, and since the sea has high temperatures, it made it stronger,” a forecaster at the National Centre of Meterology told The National.

“But then it landed over Oman, so it lost energy and is weakening.

“Since last night until now, the eastern part of the UAE, especially over Al Ain, has been affected by this with light to moderate rain.

“The highest rainfall recorded (by 8.30am) was 3.4mm over Hummel Shakla an area near Al Ain,” she said.

That is expected to continue to increase, but the rain will be nowhere near as intense as that seen in Oman.

UAE authorities also said that heavy rain and high winds could hit the country's northern and eastern coastal areas, where preparations have been made to mitigate the effects of the cyclone.

In Fujairah, on the UAE’s eastern coast, authorities have warned against swimming in the sea in case of rough waves. Emergency teams have been sent to prepare the coastline for high waves.

The Department of Housing in Sharjah said a number of homes and furnished apartments in hotels had been prepared in case residents were displaced by the storm.

The storm could also cross into a sparsely populated area of Saudi Arabia, where it would be expected to peter out.

Rainfall possible in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

“During the next 24 hours, they are expecting the low pressure to affect the Al Ain area with light to moderate rain and heavy rain at times,” said the forecaster.

“Then it will move south west, south of the UAE, until it passes to the west. Overall it is light to moderate rain, and maybe heavy at times.”

There is a “probability” Abu Dhabi and Dubai could see some rain, she said.

“If it moves a little bit further there will be light rain or drizzle over Dubai. But now on the Dubai Al Ain road, there is light to moderate rain.

“[If there is rain in Abu Dhabi] it won’t be any time soon. It is still further away. So maybe we will see some rain later today, or maybe nothing.”

The low pressure system will exit the UAE on Monday night, she added.

What are officials in the UAE saying?

The UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority held a media briefing with the National Centre of Meteorology on Sunday.

The authority said it is at maximum readiness and constantly monitoring the storm. An NCM official said that the storm could create wind speeds as fast as 140 kph in the Emirates.

“We would like to reassure everyone that all competent authorities are on high alert to deal with the upcoming tropical situation, and take all proactive and preventive measures to mitigate its impact on the country,” the authority said earlier.

It previously called on residents to follow the National Centre of Meteorology online for the latest safety updates. It said that people in affected areas should stay away from beaches in case of rising waters, and avoid valleys, which are prone to flooding.

Expo 2020 Dubai officials say they are keeping a close eye on the weather and advise anyone planning to visit the site on Sunday or Monday to check (www.expo2020dubai.com) or the National Centre of Meteorology's website (www.ncm.ae) before leaving home.

When was the last big storm in the UAE?

The UAE has not been hit by a big storm in over five years.

Wind speeds of up to 126 kph were recorded at Al Bateen Airport, in Abu Dhabi, in March 2016. Heavy rainfall caused flooding in areas of the country including Dubai and Sharjah.

In the region, Cyclone Shaheen is only the second tropical storm to make landfall through the Gulf of Oman since records began.

The previous one was in 1890, when a tropical storm struck Muscat after entering the Gulf of Oman.

Other cyclones have entered the region from the Arabian Sea, such as tropical storm Gonu in 2007. That was a category five tropical storm, stronger than Shaheen, which is expected to remain category one.

Updated: October 4th 2021, 1:54 PM
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