Published: 2018-05-25 13:08
Last Updated: 2018-05-25 14:32
Oman is on high alert as it prepares for the Category 2 Cyclone Mekunu to crash into the Arabian Peninsula on Friday.
It is expected that the cyclone will make landfall near Oman’s third-largest city, Salalah, which is home to some 200,000 people, between 1 pm to 4 pm (Oman time) today, according to a senior official at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA).
"The cyclone will hit Salalah between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Strong winds will come by 1:00 pm and as it goes further it will increase. All areas from the east to the west of Dhofar will be affected, but the most affected areas will be Salalah and the west."
Coastal parts of Yemen are also bracing for the arrival of Mekunu.
The Oman Meteorological Authority said in a tweet this morning that their latest observations show cyclone’s current wind speed at 80 to 85 km/h. However, it is expected that the winds will strengthen as they head towards Oman with wind gusts of up to 190 km/h.
Meanwhile, rainfall is expected to reach between 20 and 60 cm, according PACA, which they said will lead to life-threatening flooding, adding that waves will reach between 8 and 12 metres in height.
The Salalah International Airport closed on Thursday night; many holidaymakers fled back to their countries before the storm hit.
The airport will remain shut for 24 hours until further updates, PACA said in a tweet on Thursday.
Cyclone Mekunu comes just a few days after Cyclone Sagar devastated northwestern Somalia. This marked the country’s strongest cyclone on record; it left dozens of people dead and thousands displaced.