Dubai: At least two people have died due to floods caused by heavy rains in Oman’s Dhofar region, while search and rescue parties continue to respond to distress calls across the governorate, the Royal Oman Police announced on Saturday.
In a series of tweets on its social media account, the ROP reported the collapse of an old building used for accommodation for expats in the central Salalah region. The incident resulted in the death of one person while three others were injured.
Teams from the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) have rescued several locals and expats who’ve been caught in the torrential rain that has rapidly filled up wadis and caused flash floods. The police issued a warning asking everyone to stay at home until the rough weather subsides.
The Royal Oman Police said in a statement: “two citizens are reported to have been swept away in the Arzat region, in Salalah, the body of one of them was found, while the search for the other is still ongoing,” with the ROP later adding: “The missing citizen was found yesterday after being swept away in the valley of Arzat.”
“Dear citizen/resident, staying at home during the climatic period in Dhofar Governorate is the best way to avoid risks. We wish you safety,” said a statement from the ROP, as PACDA added: “Do not cross the wadis even if the water level is low.”
Public and emergency services in the Dhofar governorate are reported to have been working hard to contain the impact of rains caused by the current low pressure situation over the region. Teams are out on the roads to ensure they remain clear of debris, people are safe in their homes, and services continue uninterrupted across the various wilayats in Dhofar.
The Sultanate’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) provided a breakdown of the rainfall received across the Dhofar governorate. “The tropical condition has resulted in 100-200 mm of rain in Dhofar, which is associated with fresh, strong winds accompanied by flooding over low-lying and coastal areas, and an increased in the flow of water in wadis, with a reduction in horizontal visibility.”
According to Salalah Met Office, from Wednesday to Saturday Sadah remained highest with 194mm rain followed by Mirbat 184mm, Taqah 181.2mm, Salalah Airport 174.6mm, Qairoon Hairiti 136mm, Shlim 52.3mm, Thumrait 50.4mm, and Dhalqut 43.2mm.
Two years’ worth of rain
Salalah may have two years’ worth of rain in just a few days, as the city and its adjoining areas have been receiving heavy rains since Thursday that is likely to continue till Sunday, according to Oman Observer.
The commercial weather forecasting services website, AccuWeather, sounded very heavy rain in Salalah due to the low pressure in the Arabian Sea.
“380 mm (15 inches) is possible in this area including Salalah, Oman. This amount of rain would be about two years’ worth of rain for the city in just a few days,” the report said.
Most areas in Dhofar are witnessing heavy rain since Thursday. Heavy rain, according to Oman Met Office, will continue till Sunday, the direct impact of which will be there till Monday.
Fine and Jail
According to Omani law, crossing Wadis in such circumstances is a crime punishable by Law where an imprisonment for three months and a fine of RO500 shall be imposed on those who intentionally cross wadis that may risk their life and also the lives of the passengers.
Latest Weather charts and the analysis of the National Multi Hazards Early Warning Center indicated that the Tropical depression located over Dhofar governorate with estimated surface wind speed around the center between 17 and 25 knots (30 to 45 Km/hr) with a chance to move to the West in the coming hours, said the Oman Meteorology.
The continuous of heavy rain (100-200 mm) during the next 24 hours associated with fresh to strong winds and flooding over low and coastal areas and increase in wadis flow with a reduction in horizontal visibility.
Chances of cloud advection and isolated rain (10 — 30 mm) over the southern parts of Al-Wusta Governorate and the sea conditions will be rough along with governorates of Dhofar (5-4 m), meanwhile along Al-Wusta and South Al-Sharqiyah (3 m).
The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) has advised the public to take precautions and stay away from low lying areas, avoiding crossing wadis and avoid venture into the sea.