Muscat: Surrounded by overflowing wadis, flooded streets and submerged vehicles, Muscat residents shut themselves in their homes as cyclone Shaheen dumped rain ahead of its landfall. The storm, with wind speeds of up to 139 kilometres (86 miles) an hour, was 65 kilometres from Muscat and expected to hit Oman’s northern coast between 6pm and 10pm (1400-1800 GMT).
Thousands of people have been evacuated and put up in emergency shelters. Residents in certain areas have reported power outages while some are facing water shortage. The Oman Wastewater Authority has requested all residents to use water judiciously.
“We are many years older and wiser than the previous cyclone experience, but then the force of wind around us and the thought of a wadi near our homes that can bulge and over flow into our homes is numbing our brains. This time around the preparation seem more clinical and well thought of and that’s a big relief,” Hema Ilango, a housewife staying in the Al Ghubra area said.
Hema’s house is located in a low-lying area opposite Indian School Al Ghubra that normally is the worst-hit due to its location. A natural stream has already formed in the area skirting the residential locality.
Pradip Babukara, a Mumbai-chat vendor who has a shop in downtown Ruwi, has been locked in his home with his wife and aunt since yesterday. His home is located adjacent to the Muttrah Souq, facing the picturesque corniche.
“It is scary to look at the corniche through our balcony grill since yesterday. Between 3 and 5pm on October 2, there were huge waves that crashed outside the walls of the corniche stretch. The force of the water was such that it broke the barricade at certain places.
Police and commandos are stationed now in our locality and traffic is not allowed since yesterday night. The wind has started furiously over again from today morning. Power supply too gets cut off at times. We hope the power remains as we need our communication devises to be charged and working.”
Tommy Brucha, a resident of Muttrah, has not been able to reach home after a football match yesterday as the flooding of water at the corniche and the broken barricades have prompted police to seal the place off.