International News

Cyclone ravages Yemeni island, heads to Oman

The National Centre of Metrology’s (NCM) forecast is ruling out that cyclone Mekunu will reach the UAE.
The centre said that the cyclone’s impact would be restricted to the flow of humid air mass, which will aid in the formation of convective clouds that might result in rainfall in the eastern and southern areas of the country. Wind speed is expected to rise, resulting in dusty weather conditions particularly in the southern areas.
NCM has urged the public to follow reports published by the centre, and not to promote or spread rumours.
The NCM had earlier explained that although the UAE will not be directly affected by Cyclone Mekunu, the weather during the weekend will be impacted.
On its official Twitter page, the NCM said that as of Wednesday night, the tropical storm was raised to a Cyclone Category 1 over latitude 11.4 degree North and longitude 55.9 degree East.
“The Cyclone’s centre was located approximately 570 km from Salalah, and 230 km from Socotra. The wind speed around the center of the cyclone between 120 km/h to 139 km/h. The cyclone moves toward the North – North West with a speed of 11 km/h,” said the NCM.
The Abu Dhabi-based weather bureau stressed that the forecast shows that the cyclone will not cause any direct effects in the UAE.
The indirect effects over the UAE will be a continuous mass of moist air, “which will enhance the chance of convective developments at times over the eastern and southern regions over the country.”
Dubai Municipality’s weather forecast system also warned residents of rain, thunder and strong winds, which will affect parts of the UAE on Friday and Saturday.
“Some parts of the Sultanate of Oman will be affected by the cyclone from the evening of Thursday, May 24. The cyclone is expected to advance to the north and its impact will extend to the UAE in general, and in particular, to Dubai,” announced Dubai Municipality’s Geodetic and Marine Survey Section.
Residents were warned to exercise caution when visiting the mountain region and the sea.
Cyclone Mekunu pounded the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on Thursday morning, lashing it with heavy rain and strong winds as the powerful storm remained on path to strike Oman this weekend. At least 17 people were reported missing.
With winds gusting up to 155 km/h (96 miles per hour), meteorologists expected the “very severe” cyclone to strike Oman on Saturday near Salalah, the sultanate’s third-largest city and home to some 200,000 people near the country’s border with Yemen.
“It is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours,” India’s Meteorological Department warned in a Thursday morning bulletin. It said gusts from the storm will likely reach 185 km/h (115 mph) by Saturday.
The Yemen high commision declared Socotra as a disaster zone, and called upon the Saudi-led coalition for help. While all communications from the island have been cut, a clear picture of the situation on the ground is not yet available.
Two ships off socotra island have been reported missing this morning, according to a Yemeni newspaper.
According to an Oman Police tweet, the cyclone will hit Dhofar and Al Wusta coasts on Friday. Public have been urged to be cautious and not to go near wadis (valley) because of flash floods.
Oman air issued a statement that flights to and from Salalah, Zanzibar, Nairobi and Dar Es Salam maybe affected in the coming days. Passengers are advised to check through the airline website.
Oman is all set to tackle the impact of cyclone Mekunu. Emergency teams, and police are on the alert and ready. Pateints on critical care have been moved from Salalah hospitals to the capital Mascat.