x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Widespread flooding as Ashobaa brings heavy rains to Oman

Four Emiratis among nearly 40 people rescued as tropical storm begins to wreak havoc.
Omanis take pictures of the spillway in the Wadi Dayqah Dam, east Muscat. The sultanate was hit by heavy rains from tropical storm Ashobaa. AFP PHOTO
Omanis take pictures of the spillway in the Wadi Dayqah Dam, east Muscat. The sultanate was hit by heavy rains from tropical storm Ashobaa. AFP PHOTO

MUSCAT // Heavy rains and strong winds from tropical storm Ashobaa lashed Masirah Island and Sur in southern Oman on Friday, leaving dozens of people stranded by flooding and causing power outages.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression as it approached Oman’s coast, with wind speeds decreasing to between 37 and 61 kilometres per hour, according to the UAE’s national centre for meteorology and seismology.

Oman’s police, civil defence, army and air force said they rescued nearly 40 people on Friday as widespread flooding cut off roads and caused wadis to overflow.

Among them were three Emirati adults and a child who were rescued in Wadi Bani Khalid in the Sharqiyah region after getting stranded while crossing the wadi. Civil defence officials said their condition was stable, but gave no other details.

Seventeen members of a family were rescued from their home, along with a group of 11 people stranded in a wadi in Jalan Bani Bu Ali.

Oman’s civil defence said it carried out a total of 159 operations in Jalan Bani Bu Ali and Wadi Bani Khalid, transferring people to schools that were converted into shelters in preparation for the storm.

Oman’s national centre for emergencies said no death or injuries had been reported so far.

Late in the evening there were rumours that a young girl was missing in the floods, but police later said she had been rescued and handed over to her family.

The centre said there were power cuts in the provinces of Sur, Masira, Jalan Bani Bu Ali and Tewi village while some roads in Jalan Bani Bu Ali, Dima Wataeen, Wadi Bani Khalid and Sur provinces were cut off.

Residents in Lashkare town also reported roads cut off by flooding.

The heavy rains affected many houses near the coast in Masirah and several residents were taken to shelters.

The highest rainfall recorded on Friday was in Masirah, which received 230 millimetres, according to Oman’s ministry of regional municipalities and water resources.

Ras Al Had recorded 55mm of rain, while Sur received 48mm.

The UAE meteorology centre said the tropical system would gradually weaken over the next 12 hours as it moved closer to the Oman coast but would continue to bring heavy rain and significant winds.

It said that seas along the UAE’s east coast would be rough for the next 48 hours, with cloud formations expected over this area.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting from Wam