Deadly Cyclone Mekunu lashes Oman, Yemen with flooding and high winds
Cyclone Mekunu made landfall on the Arabian Peninsula on Friday night, leaving six people dead in Oman and 30 others missing, according to local officials.
Landfall occurred around midnight local time about 40 km west-southwest of Salalah, which is Oman’s third-largest city, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
Mekunu became an extremely severe cyclonic storm with winds equal to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic or East Pacific Ocean prior to making landfall.
A north-to-northwest track first brought life-threatening impacts to Socotra, as Mekunu passed just north of the island with waves of rain and wind.
A state of emergency was declared in Socotra, a Yemeni island located between the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula, after the storm flooded villages and left at least 30 missing on Thursday. Officials fear some of the missing are dead.
Western Oman and eastern Yemen then bore the brunt of Mekunu's wind and heavy rainfall on Friday and into early Saturday.
The storm is being blamed for the death of six people, including a 12-year-old girl, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Salalah's airport and port were both closed and portions of the city were left without power as high winds brought down trees and power lines. Salalah's airport reopened on Sunday morning.
At least 600 people took shelter at local schools during the storm, the AP reported.
The country is advising all private businesses in the Dhofar region to shut down for three days following the storm's impacts, according to Reuters.
This became the first major cyclone to affect both Oman and Yemen in the history of record keeping in the Arabian Sea.
Now that the cyclone has made landfall, Mekunu will continue to weaken. Despite the lessening of wind speeds, torrential rain will persist into Sunday, bringing the continued threat of life-threatening flooding and mudslides. Where rainfall is not as heavy across southern Saudi Arabia, blowing sand and dust are possible.
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