DUBAI: Oman is on alert after the meteorology center upgraded Luban to tropical cyclone category one on Wednesday while Yemen issued a warning.
Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical cyclone, and will probably head towards Yemen instead, Omani forecasters said.
Meteorologists warned that heavy rainfall and strong winds would hit Oman as the storm makes landfall. And residents have been warned to take precautions.
Meanwhile, Yemen, worn by an ongoing conflict that has weakened the country’s infrastructure, will face the full force of the storm.
The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen.
Oman’s Meteorology specialist, Hamood Al-Naabiya, had previously told Arab News on Tuesday that if the storm traveled towards the Gulf of Aden, the destructive effects would be less than that of Cyclone Mekunu which killed dozens in May.
In May Cyclone Mekunu ripped through the Yemeni island of Socotra, causing severe flooding, and extensive damage including six ships that sank - four at sea. Flood waters washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines. Cyclone Mekunu then moved onto Salalah where whole areas of beach were washed away, as were roads, power cables and properties damaged.
At the end of the week, Mekunu had left 30 people dead - including a 12-year-old girl in Oman, while dozens of others were missing.
Oman subsequently announced schools in Dhofar governorate will close Thursday as a cyclone gathers strength in the Arabian Sea, five months after Cyclone Mekunu killed 11 people in the sultanate and Yemen.
“Schools will be shut as precautionary measure and to protect the students and staff... and in case residents need shelter during that time,” the education directorate in Dhofar, 950 kilometers south of Muscat, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Luban is currently considered a category one tropical cyclone.
In May, Cyclone Mekunu killed at least 11 people in southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The cyclone had isolated parts of Socotra island — part of a UNESCO-protected archipelago for its rich biodiversity — with the government declaring it a “disaster” zone.