UAE: Cyclone Shaheen expected to weaken before hitting eastern coast

Sahim Salim /Dubai Filed on October 3, 2021
High waves break on the Mutrah sea side promenade in the Omani capital Muscat, as Cyclone Shahee hits the country. Photo: AFP

Police patrols beefed up around beaches and valleys; emergency response plans stepped up

Schools and universities in some areas in the UAE went online; a park was shut; and construction sites in Al Ain were secured and work fully stopped, as Cyclone Shaheen hit the region on Sunday.

These were among the several precautionary measures that the UAE authorities took to mitigate the impact of the storm.

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>> UAE residents barred from visiting beaches, valleys

>> All flights to, from Muscat airport postponed, rescheduled

>> Rising waters, high waves, reported in Sharjah

Emirati carriers Etihad and Emirates said the storm caused some flights to be delayed or rescheduled. The Expo 2020 team said it is monitoring the path of the cyclone, urging visitors to check official weather updates before leaving home.

The tropical cyclone bore down on neighbouring Oman on Sunday, killing at least three people. A child who had been swept away by water was found dead, the state news agency said. Two Asian workers were killed when a hill collapsed on their housing area in an industrial zone.

The eye of the storm was about 60km from Muscat and it was carrying top winds of 120kmph.

Effect on UAE

The cyclone is expected to weaken before it hits the UAE’s eastern coast, the country’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said.

The NCM issued a code red alert off the eastern coast, warning of 10-foot waves off-shore and wind speeds of 50kmph.

>> UAE embassy in Muscat urges citizens to take precautions

>> UAE authorities all set to tackle Cyclone Shaheen

>> UAE schools in several areas shift to distance learning

The alert, which was issued at 5.25pm on Sunday, will remain till Monday evening. The NCM’s code red alert means that residents in a particular area have to be “extremely vigilant” as “hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast”.

The cyclone will cause heavy rains and strong winds in Al Ain region and the east coast. The rains will be of different intensities and are expected to cause flash floods in the valleys and water torrents in low-lying areas.

Emergency preparedness

Police patrols have been beefed up around beaches, low-lying areas and valleys, with residents and visitors barred from visiting them.

The general public has been reminded to adhere to all safety instructions issued by the police and other authorities.

The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has formed multiple teams to deal with any emergencies. Response plans have been formulated, with emphasis on draining valleys and clearing storm water drainages.

>> Cyclone Shaheen: Three killed, flights delayed

>> Hatta parks, facilities temporarily closed

>> UAE weather bureau issues code red alert for eastern coast

The authorities also called on residents to report torrential water or floods to the authorities concerned.

All schools, universities and institutes in the affected areas have shifted to distance learning. The areas included Al Ain; Hatta in Dubai; Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Dibba Al Hisn in Sharjah; Masfoot and Manama in Ajman; and the southern region in Ras Al Khaimah.

In Al Ain, all work at construction sites was stopped from 4pm on Sunday till October 5.

The Dubai Municipality announced the temporary closure of Hatta Parks and other community facilities as a precautionary measure.

Emiratis in Oman urged to return

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation teams are in touch with Emiratis who are in Oman.

“UAE citizens and their families, who are currently in Oman and would like to return to the UAE, can take the Covid-19 PCR test on arrival,” state news agency WAM reported.

Sahim Salim

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