Oman, Yemen prepare for hurricane-strength Cyclone Mekunu
26 May, 2018, 19:15 | Author: Wade Massey
At least one person, a 12-year-old girl, died in Oman and 40 others are missing from the Yemeni island of Socotra, which earlier took the storm's brunt, police said.
The centre said the eye of the storm was expected to make landfall on the southern coast of the sultanate at 2000 local time (1600 GMT).
Blowing dust will be caused by "light to moderate winds freshening at times".
According to an Al Jazeera report, there are high chances of the storm gathering energy, and becoming a Category 3 system before it makes landfall especially "with sea surface temperatures in that region of the Arabian Sea between 31 and 32 degrees Celsius, and low wind shear (a change of wind speed and direction with height)".
Four people on the boat were rescued while three other people were missing when floods swept away their vehicles, the minister said.
"Socotra is a disaster province due to human and material damage at all levels and requires urgent aid", government spokesman Rajeh Badi said.
In a bulletin issued on Wed-nesday, IMD stated, "Mekunu is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours".
State-run television said authorities had evacuated hundreds of residents from a small island off Salalah, the city where Oman's Sultan Qaboos was born.
Tourists rushed to catch the last flights out before Salalah International Airport closed at midnight Thursday for the storm, where sandbags already stacked against some doors.
Across the border in Oman, authorities have placed police and army on alert and closed schools until Monday in preparation for the cyclone.
Omani forecasters said Salalah and the surrounding area would get at least 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) of rain, over twice the city's annual downfall.
Socrotra is now embroiled in another kind of storm, as tensions between the Yemeni government and the United Arab Emirates over the presence of Emirati troops on the island recently reached a head.
In Oman, Mohammed Omer Baomer warned his neighbors about a torn-away chunk of road just down the street from his home after earlier getting his SUV stuck over it.
Socotra has a unique ecosystem and is home to rare plants, snails and reptiles that can be found nowhere else on the planet.
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