Oman, Yemen warn coastal areas as severe cyclone approaches

Debris is strewn on the beach as high winds, the remnants of Cyclone Gonu, whip up spray in the sea, in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Saturday, June 9, 2007.

Debris is strewn on the beach as high winds, the remnants of Cyclone Gonu, whip up spray in the sea, in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Saturday, June 9, 2007.


Authorities in war-hit Yemen and in Oman on Saturday urged residents to evacuate coastal areas as a severe cyclone brewing in the Arabian Sea approached the shores.

The U.N.’s weather agency said on Friday that the “super cyclonic storm” named Chapala was expected to make landfall around midnight Monday in Yemen and Oman.

Yemen’s meteorological agency called on residents of the southeastern provinces of Hadramawt and Mohrah, and the island of Socotra, to stay at least one kilometre away from the shores.

It said activities at ports and airports in coastal areas should stop when the cyclone hits, and urged fishermen to stay on land and to lift their boats out of water to avoid losses.

To the east, Omani authorities ordered that schools be closed Sunday and Monday in the southwestern province of Dhofar, ONA state news agency said, adding that medical and diving teams had been sent there in preparation for the storm.

Satellite images have shown that Chapala was approaching the shores with wind speeds between 220 and 250 kilometres (136 and 155 miles) per hour, ONA said.

Oman’s civil aviation authority warned that waves higher than seven metres (23 feet) were expected to hit the beaches of Dhofar.

The U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization described Chapala as “an extremely severe cyclonic storm”.

WMO said that Chapala’s wind speed was the equivalent of a category four hurricane.


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