Oman’s second cyclone of the year, Luban, is expected to make landfall in the next six hours – and residents of Salalah and other parts of the governorate of Dhofar are bracing themselves.
Light rains and winds are expected during this initial phase, but according to the latest forecast (at 11:00am) by the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), the cyclone is still 490kms away.
During the peak of the landfall – which is expected to take place in the next 72 hours – the eye of the cyclone will be closer to these parts of Oman and Yemen. This will translate to strong winds, heavy thunderstorms, and rough seas.
PACA reveals that the cyclone is expected to gain intensity and touch Category 2 – which is a severe cyclonic storm that can sustain winds of up to 119kph (64knots).
The statement read: “The tropical storm continues to move towards west and northwest towards Yemen’s coast and part of Dhofar’s coast, with the storm likely to deepen into a tropical cyclone of the second degree within the next 48 hours.
The wind speeds, as revealed by PACA, are expected to peak at 137kph (74knots), but even at its lowest point it’s expected to batter the coasts at 119kph (64knots).
In a statement online PACA said: “The latest weather maps and analysis of the National Centre for Multi-Hazard Early Warning indicate the concentration of the tropical storm Luban in the Arabian Sea. The wind speed around the centre is estimated to be around 64-74 knots/119-137 kmph.”
Fishermen, residents and tourists are warned to stay away from any activities near the coast of Salalah and parts of Dhofar as the seas are expected to rise between 3 and 5 metres in the next 6 hours.
However, as the condition worsens, the waves will peak at 8 metres, as per PACA
As per directives, all schools in the Dhofar governorate will remain closed today [Thursday, October 11].
Earlier in the year (in May) the Cyclone Mekunu that made landfall killed at least 11 people in southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra.