After Cyclone Mekunu left Yemeni governorate Socotra with 19 people missing, sunken ships and several damages to roads and houses, it is fast approaching its next target: Oman.
Omani authorities have issued warnings to citizens and residents in multiple languages to take caution and avoid lowland areas.
The new warnings come in light of the Omani Meteorology center’s announcement that Cyclone Mekunu has turned into a Category (2) storm.
According to recent satellite image captures, the cyclone continues to gradually approach the country’s south-west region and Salalah.
Salalah Airport will be closed to air traffic from midnight on Friday for at least 24 hours, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) said.
The authority could extend the closure further, depending on weather conditions.
حاليا استمرار هطول أمطار متفاوتة الغزارة على أجزاء من محافظة ظفار وتوقعات بازياد غزارة الأمطار من غزيرة لشديدة الغزارة مع اقتراب الأعصار المداري مكونو باتجاه سواحل ظفار#مستجدات_الحالة_المدارية_مكونو #بحر_العرب pic.twitter.com/PJ0PtgpYS6— الأرصاد العمانية (@OmanMeteorology) May 25, 2018
“Following up the development of the cyclone, which is centered in the Arabian Sea and approached the coasts of Dhofar as well as the Omani airspace, PACA has decided to close Salalah Airport at 12 am tonight,” the statement read.
The PACA added that it is coordinating with other international airlines in the Omani air space.
PACA also sent out an alert that said that Cyclone Mekunu's storm clouds were 40 km away from the Wilayat of Sadah, Dhofar.
They also tweeted an image of the current location of the cyclone, adding that "torrential rainfall" is being recorded in Dhofar.
A video spreading on social media, showing the rise of sea water that is reaching homes. National Civil Defense Commission is calling to evacuate coastal and lowland areas, where waves are expected to increase and flood as the hurricane center approaches late on Friday. #Mekunu pic.twitter.com/cjJPuKX9tA— Merge 104.8 (@radiomerge) May 24, 2018
The meteorology department also said that medium to heavy rainfall, between 12-25 mm, had been recorded in the eastern parts of Dhofar of Governorate, in Halaniyat, Sadah and Mirbat, the newspaper reported.
The Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah was also evacuated on Thursday, where those in stable condition were moved to the armed forces hospital while those in serious condition were moved to Muscat, according to the newspaper. Oman’s ministry of health released a statement asking blood donors to donate blood to those in need during the storm.
“The medical response and public health sector has completed its preparations to deal with the orbital situation Mekunu. The main committee and the sub-committees in the governorates of Dhofar and Al Wusta are completely ready to activate the emergency plan,” the ministry said.
“The committee has contacted all governorates and hospitals to make sure that they ready. Hospitals are equipped with specialized beds to support the affected governorates if necessary,” the ministry added.