Tropical cyclone strikes Oman

Storm's centre set to hit land in southeastern Iran, possibly disrupting Gulf shipping.

    Gonu is the strongest tropical cyclone to have hit
    the Gulf state of Oman since 1977

    Al-Huti said heavy rain blanketed the city, covering almost all roads and electricity was cut in some areas in Muscat.


    The situation is expected to last for three days, he said.


    Abdallah al-Harthi, spokesman for Oman's disaster relief body, said there had been no fatalities.  


    Iran evacuation


    Meanwhile, authorities have evacuated hundreds of residents of the Iranian port of Chabahr on the coast of Oman Sea out of fear of the approaching cyclone, a local official said on Wednesday.

    Iranian state television said that floods, caused by the heavy rainfall, have already cut some major roads in southeastern Iran.


    Wind with speeds reaching up to 110km per hour had reached costal areas near the Jask town, 1,800km southeast of Tehran, the TV said.


    The centre of the storm is expected to hit land in southeastern Iran, possibly disrupting shipping through the Gulf.


    Energy exports

    Oman's Sur export terminal, which handles 10m tonnes of liquefied natural gas exports every year, would be closed for at least 48 hours, a shipper said.


    Sultan Qaboos port, which handles vehicles and containers, was also closed.    

    Strong waves battered the coast of Oman
    as the cyclone approached [EPA]

    The Mina al Fahal oil terminal, the only outlet for Oman's 650,000 barrels per day of crude oil production, closed during the day as storms hit the area.


    Rashid al-Barwani, an oil official, said it had since reopened and delays would be short-lived.

    Production was also suspended at the Mukhaizna oil field, with an estimated output of about 10,000 barrels per day, but it may resume on Wednesday, Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, undersecretary at the oil ministry, told state television.



    Oil prices surged above $70 on news of the cyclone in the Gulf region, which supplies one fifth of the world's oil.

    Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, said its main oil region would not be affected. Kuwait's oil refining company said everything was operating as normal there.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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