Three die as Cyclone Shaheen sweeps Oman, UAE coasts

MUSCAT/DUBAI — Tropical cyclone Shaheen reached Oman's coast in the early hours of Sunday morning as State officials continued to encourage coastal residents to evacuate and all flights to and from the country's capital, Muscat, have been suspended.
Tropical cyclone Shaheen reached Oman's coast in the early hours of Sunday morning, batting the Gulf State.

A rare and intense cyclone battered the coast of Oman in the early hours of Sunday morning. At least three people have died in the storm, including one child.

The Times of Oman said two workers were killed when a housing complex collapsed outside the capital of Muscat; the collapse left several others stuck in the rubble. They also report that a child drowned in floodwaters brought on by the storm.

The category 1 cyclone, which has been named Shaheen, started as a tropical storm and has a wind speed of 120-139 kilometers per hour, or roughly 75-86 mph, the Civil Aviation Authority-Sultanate of Oman tweeted.

The Indian government's Meteorological Department tweeted that the cyclone will cross the coast of Oman early Monday morning as a "severe cyclonic storm."

Officials in Oman have encouraged thousands of residents on the coast to evacuate their homes, Reuters reported. Flights in and out of Muscat have been suspended.

Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates, emergency response plans have been stepped up with police patrols being beefed up around beaches and valleys. Schools and universities in some areas in the UAE went online, construction sites in Al Ain were secured and work fully stopped, as Cyclone Shaheen hit the region on Sunday.
Tropical cyclone Shaheen reached Oman's coast in the early hours of Sunday morning, batting the Gulf State.

Emirati carriers Etihad and Emirates said the storm caused some flights to be delayed or rescheduled. The Expo 2020 team said it is monitoring the path of the cyclone, urging visitors to check official weather updates before leaving home.

The eye of the storm was about 60km from Muscat and it was carrying top winds of 120kmph. The cyclone is expected to weaken before it hits the UAE’s eastern coast, the country’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said.

The NCM issued a code red alert off the eastern coast, warning of 10-foot waves off-shore and wind speeds of 50kmph.

The alert, which was issued at 5.25pm on Sunday, will remain till Monday evening. The NCM’s code red alert means that residents in a particular area have to be “extremely vigilant” as “hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast”.
Tropical cyclone Shaheen reached Oman's coast in the early hours of Sunday morning, batting the Gulf State.

The cyclone will cause heavy rains and strong winds in Al Ain region and the east coast. The rains will be of different intensities and are expected to cause flash floods in the valleys and water torrents in low-lying areas.

The general public has been reminded to adhere to all safety instructions issued by the police and other authorities. Response plans have been formulated, with emphasis on draining valleys and clearing storm water drainages.

The authorities also called on residents to report torrential water or floods to the authorities concerned, Khaleej Times reported.

All schools, universities and institutes in the affected areas have shifted to distance learning. The areas included Al Ain; Hatta in Dubai; Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Dibba Al Hisn in Sharjah; Masfoot and Manama in Ajman; and the southern region in Ras Al Khaimah.
Tropical cyclone Shaheen reached Oman's coast in the early hours of Sunday morning, batting the Gulf State.

It is rare for cyclones to make their way through the Arabian Sea, but as climate change worsens, sea temperatures have risen, making natural disasters like this more common.

The last time Oman was hit by a cyclone this intense was in 2007 with Cyclone Gonu, recorded as the strongest cyclone to ever come through the Arabian Sea.

The storm caused billions of dollars of damage and 50 people died in Oman. An additional 28 people died in Iran from the cyclone, which was the first storm to hit Iran since 1898.
(Agencies/SG).

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