Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Helicopter rescue teams called in as flash floods hit Oman

Thunderstorms affected parts of the country on Sunday

Tropical depression Pawan is expected to intensify. Reuters
Tropical depression Pawan is expected to intensify. Reuters

Thunderstorms hit parts of Oman on Sunday, with strong winds, hail and flash flooding causing widespread disruption.

Helicopter rescue teams airlifted one motorist from his stranded vehicle while another was winched to safety from rising floodwater in a wadi.

Experts said the storm, known as tropical depression Pawan, was now tracking towards Somalia and that its strength was expected to intensify.

On Sunday, Oman Police said they responded to 54 reports of people trapped by heavy rain or vehicles adrift in floodwater in the space of just 12 hours.

“Al Dhahirah Governorate Police Department has dealt with 54 reports of people stranded and vehicles adrift during the past 12 hours,” a statement said.

Over the weekend, numerous videos and photographs posted on social media showed the extent of the impact of the storm.

One showed a stranded motorist standing on the roof of his submerged car in Dhank valley in Al Dhahirah as a rescue helicopter hovered overhead.

Another photograph showed a man sitting in a small building completely cut off by floods in Wadi Bani Ghafir in Al Batinah South Governorate.

“In case you are caught in a valley, get out of your car, stand on top of it and wait until you are rescued,” said the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance.

Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology in Oman warned that further thunderstorms were expected in Musandam, Al Batinah North, Al Batinah South, Muscat and the Al Hajar Mountains on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Updated: December 9, 2019 12:58 PM

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