Mekunu weakens as it nears Najran

Tropical storm to cause weather fluctuations till Tuesday

A car stuck in a flooded street in Salalah as Oman is hit by Cyclone Mekunu. Cyclone Mekunu was downgraded further to a deep depression Saturday, a day after lashing the southern coast of Oman and killing at least two people. — AFP

Saudi Gazette report

Riyadh — Civil Defense in Najran has made all preparations to tackle any emergency that may result from Cyclone Mekunu, which claimed two lives in Oman.

Spokesman of the Directorate of Civil Defense in Najran Captain Abdul Khaliq Ali Al-Qahtani said they took all necessary measures and raised their readiness after a report by the Saudi General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection on the status of the cyclone.

He said Civil Defense has reinforced its branch in the governorate of Sharurah with personnel and equipment.

It urged residents in Najran to be careful about possible weather fluctuations in the region in the coming days and to keep an eye on alerts and warnings from official sources for any developments.

The main committee of Civil Defense in the region held two meetings in the city of Najran and the governorate of Sharurah to discuss the readiness and preparedness of the authorities concerned.

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection (GAMEP) said that Mekunu has became a second class cyclone and expected to move north to northwest with the storm eye away from Saudi Arabia by about 350 kilometers and the wind speed around the center of the hurricane to be between 157 to 167 km/h.

As the cyclone has turned into a tropical storm, it may affect parts of Saudi Arabia till next Tuesday, the meteorology authority said.

Southern parts of the eastern desert of the Rubu Al-Khali (the Empty Quarter) and the eastern parts of Najran will be affected by torrential rains that may lead to flash floods and active winds of up to 75 km/h in addition to dusty weather.

Mekunu started to weaken to a tropical storm in Oman and authorities began clearing operations on Saturday after the heavy rain but warned residents to stay in their homes, with run-off from river valleys flooding most main roads in Dhofar.

The cyclone also killed at least seven people in the Yemeni island of Socotra, a Yemeni official said on Saturday. At least 40 people were missing.

Yemen declared a state of emergency on Thursday for Socotra, which lies between southern Yemen and the Horn of Africa and is renowned for its unique animal and plant life.

The storm flooded Socotra›s villages and capsized boats, leaving much of the island without access to communications.