Residents of Muscat were awakened by the unmistakable sound of rain and thunder on Tuesday (January 24), as the capital marked its first thunderstorms of the year. Earlier in the day, thundershowers were also reported in the areas of North Al Batinah and Buraimi.
The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) reported that the governorates of Musandam, South Al Batinah, Al Dhahira, Al Dakhliya, and North and South Al Sharqiya were also among the recipients of the country’s first heavy rains to lash the country this year.
“The rains are a blessing, to be honest. There were light showers in my area [Ruwi], last week too, but this time round there was thunder and lightning too. I was very excited when I got up for work in the morning,” says Yahya, an engineer working in Muscat.
“After all, it is not every day that we get to experience rains here. However, this also means that the roads will get dangerous.”
The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance was on alert and safety experts urged citizens to exercise caution when driving on slippery roads.
The heavy downpours also led to the filling up of wadis, which disrupted the flow of normal traffic in various areas across the Sultanate. Impatient drivers attempting to cross overflowing wadis have often been the cause of accidents in the past, sometimes leading to loss of life.
“There is a wadi crossing near my house, which filled up with water,” said Hussain.
“The level was well above the red marking, but I still saw many SUVs and buses crossing the wadi. This is in tone with reckless driving, as it puts the passengers at risk,” he added.
Afternoon classes at Indian School Muscat, Indian School Wadi Kabir and Indian School Darsait were cancelled because of the bad weather.
Meanwhile, the rains also brought temperatures down to a cooler 17 degrees in the capital, while reports of temperatures falling as low as four degrees Celsius was reported in the mountains of Jebal Shams.
Meanwhile, the city of Saiq and Yanqul also reported temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.
The weather analysis of The National Multi Hazards and Early Warning Centre said the rain was caused by a trough of low pressure over the Sultanate. The storms were also accompanied by north to north-west winds, which caused sea levels to rise moderately along the coastal areas of Musandam and the Sea of Oman, with a maximum wave height of 2.5 metres, according to the PACA.