Cyclone Mekunu likely to hit Salalah on Saturday

(Source: IMD)

Muscat - 

Mekunu is likely to hit Salalah on Saturday morning as a very severe cyclonic storm. The maximum wind speed of 150-160kmph gusting to 180kmph is likely to commence over the west central Arabian Sea from the evening of Friday, stated the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Oman’s National Multi Hazard Early Warning Centre on Wednesday predicted the development of the tropical storm in Tropical Cyclone (Category 1) with surface wind speeds ranging between 65 and 75 knots (117-135kmph). The centre of the storm is located at latitude 11.4°N and longitude 55.9°E. It’s located 570km from the Salalah city while the nearest convective clouds are 80km from the wilayat of Sadah coastline.

Latest weather maps and numerical prediction charts show that the tropical system will intensify into Tropical Cyclone (Category 2) within 36 hours with chances of clouds advection and isolated rain from Wednesday evening. The cyclone is likely to approach Dhofar and Al Wusta coasts on Friday and Saturday leading to very heavy thundershowers associated with fresh to strong gale wind.

The centre said that the sea state will be rough along Dhofar and Al Wusta coasts with maximum wave height from 5-8m and rough along South Sharqiyah coast with maximum wave height from 3-4m.

The Public Authority for Civil Aviation has asked expatriates and citizens to follow weather bulletins and not venture into wadis during flash floods.

In a bulletin issued on Wed-nesday, IMD stated, “Mekunu is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross south Oman-southeast Yemen coasts as a very severe cyclonic storm between 53°E and 55°E close to Salalah, around Saturday morning.”

Mekunu moved north-northwestwards on Wednesday morning and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and lay centered at 7am over the southwest Arabian Sea near latitude 11.2°N and longitude 55.9°E, about 270km southeast of Socotra Islands and 670km south-southeast of Salalah, according to IMD.

Skymet Weather said that Cyclone Mekunu, which is yet to make a landfall, is presently in southwest Arabian Sea and is moving far away from the Indian coastline. “It continues to move in favourable weather conditions and is most likely to intensify into severe or very severe cyclonic storm. We do not see the system losing its strength any time before May 25-26, till the time it makes the landfall.”

“The wind speed will gradually increase over the westcentral Arabian Sea off south Oman-southeast Yemen coasts with increase in intensity of the system from May 23 to 26. The maximum wind speed of 150-160kmph gusting to 180kmph is likely to commence over the westcentral Arabian Sea from Friday evening,” IMD said.

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