Arabia Weather - The Sultanate of Oman is one of the wonderful destinations on the Arabian coast, but it also has a long history of facing hurricanes and tropical storms over the course of nearly 140 years . The Sultanate of Oman is considered one of the Arab countries most exposed to hurricanes and tropical storms. As it is located in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, it regularly finds itself under the influence of these powerful natural phenomena; Because of its coastline extending over a long distance along the Arabian Sea.
The Arabian Sea is considered part of the Indian Ocean and is located north of the equator and west of India. Over the years, it has witnessed the emergence of most tropical cyclones, which are known for their strength and wide impact. The causes of the damage resulting from these cyclones in the Arabian Peninsula are mainly due to the floods that accompany these natural phenomena, which It has resulted in huge material losses and the loss of hundreds of lives over the past decades, at a cost that has escalated to billions of dollars.
Cyclone Gonu, which struck Oman in 2007 , is one of the most dangerous cyclones to have affected the region; It caused material losses worth $4 billion, and left more than 50 deaths. Also, between 1890 and 1996 , 36 storms struck different regions in Oman. However, some ground storms could be excluded from historical records; Due to the scarcity of population centers in those areas.
Statistics show that about 48.5% of storms disappear before reaching land, or head away from the beaches, while one in every 3 storms heads towards the Arabian Peninsula. It is noted that storms do not form in the western Arabian Sea; Due to cold sea surface temperatures as a result of strong monsoon winds and dry air caused by the Arabian Peninsula.
In general, the Sultanate of Oman is affected by storms on average once every 3 years, with most of them concentrated between the states of Masirah and Salalah. These events usually occur before June or after October. Every about 5 years, the Dhofar region in southern Oman is affected by storms, while the Omani capital, Muscat, experiences these phenomena approximately once every 10 years.
Over the past century and more, the coasts of Oman have witnessed an increasing number of devastating hurricanes that have left unforgettable impacts on this beautiful land. In the following points, we will present a chronology of hurricanes over the years:
In 2007, Amman witnessed the attack of Hurricane Gonu , which is considered one of the most dangerous and powerful hurricanes to hit the region. Hurricane Gonu reached a fifth-degree intensity, causing an astonishing rise in sea waves to levels exceeding 12 metres , and leading to massive floods that disrupted traffic and damaged infrastructure. Infrastructure, and we witnessed the fall of trees, the sweeping away of cars, and even the submergence of some buildings. This natural disaster caused massive damage estimated at about 4 billion dollars , and claimed the lives of about 50 people , making it the worst in the history of Oman in terms of natural disasters. Later, the waves of Hurricane Gonu headed towards the port of Fujairah in United Arab Emirates, causing serious damage there as well.
In June 2010, Cyclone Phet began forming in the Arabian Sea, and continued to develop rapidly as a result of the decrease in air pressure over the sea. The next day of its formation, its wind speed reached 235 km/hour, and it was classified as a Category 4 hurricane.
The Omani authorities avoided a potential disaster and evacuated the residents of Masirah Island and the cities located on the eastern coast of the country to safe inland places. Despite the strength of Hurricane Phet, it resulted in losses and damage slightly less than expected, as the cost of the damage amounted to about 780 million dollars, and claimed 24 people were killed as it passed east of Amman.
Looking back years later, in 2011 , Storm Kailah resulted in the deaths of 19 people as it passed near the southern coast of Oman, and caused an estimated $80 million in damage.
Regarding 2014 , evidence of major flooding was discovered in Ras Al Hadd, eastern Oman, possibly as a result of a tsunami or severe storm. Also in 2014, Cyclone Nilofer resulted in the death of 4 people due to rain showers.
On May 21, 2018 , Hurricane Mekunu struck areas in the southern Arabian Peninsula, specifically in Yemen, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and also affected the islands in its path, such as Socotra Island. The hurricane set off with wind speeds exceeding 126 km/hour, and caused waves up to 8 meters high. Despite its strength, Cyclone Mekunu resulted in the death of 13 people in Yemen and Oman.
In 2019 , the Sultanate of Oman was affected by the super cyclonic storm “Kiar” , which is considered the first major storm to affect the northern Indian Ocean region since Cyclone Gonu , and the word “Kiar” means “tiger” or “tigress” in the Burmese language.
On October 2, 2021 , Cyclone Shaheen reached the coast of the Sultanate, causing human losses and significant material damage, which prompted government authorities to take urgent measures to reduce this damage, including disrupting work for two days and the intervention of the armed forces for rescue work. On October 4, 2021 , Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq, issued an order to form a specialized ministerial committee to assess the damage and provide support and assistance as soon as possible. Efforts to repair infrastructure and restore damaged services have accelerated.
On October 4, 2021 , the National Multi-Hazards Early Warning Center in the Sultanate of Oman announced, through an official statement, the end of the direct effects of the tropical event (Cyclone Shaheen). On October 5, 2021 , the Sultanate of Oman announced the death of 11 people and the disappearance of 9 others, in addition to the survival of 654. Others died as a result of the impact of Cyclone Shaheen, which swept the country over the past three days.
Over 140 years of challenges and resilience, the Sultanate of Oman remains an inspiring example of how to deal with hurricanes and tropical storms. Thanks to its efforts to improve its infrastructure and develop innovative strategies, the country continues to coexist with these natural phenomena and provide valuable lessons to the rest of the world about how to address climate challenges.
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