Dubai: The National Centre of Metrology’s (NCM) forecast is ruling out that cyclone Mekunu will reach the UAE.
The centre said that the cyclone’s impact would be restricted to the flow of humid air mass, which will aid in the formation of convective clouds that might result in rainfall in the eastern and southern areas of the country. Wind speed is expected to rise, resulting in dusty weather conditions particularly in the southern areas.
NCM has urged the public to follow reports published by the centre, and not to promote or spread rumours.
The NCM had earlier explained that although the UAE will not be directly affected by Cyclone Mekunu, the weather during the weekend will be impacted.
On its official Twitter page, the NCM said that as of Wednesday night, the tropical storm was raised to a Cyclone Category 1 over latitude 11.4 degree North and longitude 55.9 degree East.
“The Cyclone’s centre was located approximately 570 km from Salalah, and 230 km from Socotra. The wind speed around the center of the cyclone between 120 km/h to 139 km/h. The cyclone moves toward the North - North West with a speed of 11 km/h,” said the NCM.
The Abu Dhabi-based weather bureau stressed that the forecast shows that the cyclone will not cause any direct effects in the UAE.
The indirect effects over the UAE will be a continuous mass of moist air, “which will enhance the chance of convective developments at times over the eastern and southern regions over the country.”
Dubai Municipality's weather forecast system also warned residents of rain, thunder and strong winds, which will affect parts of the UAE on Friday and Saturday.
“Some parts of the Sultanate of Oman will be affected by the cyclone from the evening of Thursday, May 24. The cyclone is expected to advance to the north and its impact will extend to the UAE in general, and in particular, to Dubai,” announced Dubai Municipality’s Geodetic and Marine Survey Section.
Residents were warned to exercise caution when visiting the mountain region and the sea.
Cyclone Mekunu pounded the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on Thursday morning, lashing it with heavy rain and strong winds as the powerful storm remained on path to strike Oman this weekend. At least 17 people were reported missing.
With winds gusting up to 155 km/h (96 miles per hour), meteorologists expected the "very severe" cyclone to strike Oman on Saturday near Salalah, the sultanate's third-largest city and home to some 200,000 people near the country's border with Yemen.
"It is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours," India's Meteorological Department warned in a Thursday morning bulletin. It said gusts from the storm will likely reach 185 km/h (115 mph) by Saturday.
The Yemen high commision declared Socotra as a disaster zone, and called upon the Saudi-led coalition for help. While all communications from the island have been cut, a clear picture of the situation on the ground is not yet available.
Two ships off socotra island have been reported missing this morning, according to a Yemeni newspaper.
"Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Mekunu" in the Arabian Sea will strengthen over the next few days, with sustained winds reaching 100 mph. This is expected to make landfall on Friday night, most likely in southwest Oman pic.twitter.com/ZnMf48vQMo— Met Office (@metoffice) May 23, 2018
According to an Oman Police tweet, the cyclone will hit Dhofar and Al Wusta coasts on Friday. Public have been urged to be cautious and not to go near wadis (valley) because of flash floods.
Oman air issued a statement that flights to and from Salalah, Zanzibar, Nairobi and Dar Es Salam maybe affected in the coming days. Passengers are advised to check through the airline website.
Oman is all set to tackle the impact of cyclone Mekunu. Emergency teams, and police are on the alert and ready. Pateints on critical care have been moved from Salalah hospitals to the capital Mascat.
مستشفى السلطان قابوس ب #صلالة ، يقوم بنقل الحالات الحرجة ومرضى غسيل الكلى جوا الى #مسقط بالتعاون مع طيران سلاح الجو السلطاني العماني.#ميكونو #مستجدات_الحالة_المدارية_مكونو #بحر_العرب_2018 pic.twitter.com/Z4AbY8QUlE— شبكة عمان المحلية (@OMN_4) May 24, 2018
It is expected to be a high-intensity category 2 cyclone very soon.
Four of the missing were crew on board a boat that sunk when the storm hit the island in the Arabian Sea, a fisheries ministry official told AFP.
Another official said that 150 families had been evacuated and moved to government facilities after downpours caused houses and streets to flood, trapping people in their homes.
Some residents carrying children tried to escape through the flooded streets, an AFP correspondent said.
Authorities called on humanitarian organisations and the Saudi-led military coalition that is battling Huthi rebels in the country to help, according to state-run news agency Saba.
In neighbouring Oman, authorities announced through the official news agency they were taking "necessary precautions" in case the cyclone hits Oman.
What are the expected effects on the UAE?
A medium range forecast from Numerical Weather Prediction shows no direct effects caused by the cyclone in the UAE. However, indirect effects expected is continuous moist air mass, which will enhance the chance of convective developments at times over the Eastern and Southern regions over the UAE.
The National Center of Meteorology is observing the weather condition and will apprise the public of the cyclone situation.
The National Center of Meteorology has requested that Emiratis and residents of the UAE keep following the updates, reports, forecasts issued by The National Center of Meteorology only, and never handle fake news.
Earlier in the day, on Wednesday, the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said there will be no landfall of Cyclone Mekunu in the UAE.
Refuting reports that tropical storm that is strengthening in the southwest Arabian Sea will hit Dubai, the weather bureau reiterated that the path of the cyclone is still towards Oman and Yemen.
“There is no direct impact seen on the UAE,” said Mohammad Al Alebri, director of Metoerology Department at NCM said around 5pm on Wednesday.
He said the cyclone was expected to change its category from one to two in the next 36 hours.
“On Friday night it will have landfall on the coast of Oman and the core of the cyclone will reach the land with heavy rainfall by early morning on Saturday.”
Once it is cut off from the sea, its source of power, the cyclone will slowly weaken and gradually dissipate.
“It won’t reach the UAE. However, there will be plenty of water vapor in the atmosphere.”
High temperatures in mountains will trigger more clouds over the eastern and southern parts of the UAE.
“That will cause thunderstorm clouds over eastern and southern areas of the UAE on Saturday, and on Sunday it will be associated with scattered rainfall in eastern parts along the mountains. But as for the cyclone, there will be no direct impact.”
The NCM spokesperson said the centre is continuously monitoring the situation and issuing regular updates on its website and social media channels.
The weather department urged residents to refrain from spreading rumours and reports that are not verified by NCM, the authorised entity to issue weather related reports and alerts in the country.