On the 29th of September I landed in Muscat, Oman. A new place, a place I have never been before, a new beginning…stress, emotions by the gallon …blah blah that I could bore you with right now but that is in another post.
All these were expected, what I didn’t expect was that on the same day, into the Arabian sea a cyclone coming from India with the name of Shaheen, materialised and started making its way towards the Gulf of Oman.
When I moved to Ireland, my friends there would say that I bring sunny days and this would be a joke that followed me for a while. Eh well, when moving to a country where 99% of the time is sunny….what do I bring with me??
Shaheen was a cyclone that formed out of the remnants of the Gulab cyclone. Its name means falcon or hawk in Arabic while Gulab means rose in Urdu so no female names like we were used to from the storms in US and Europe.
When it eventually arrived Oman it was downgraded to tropical storm and its “eye” went very close to Muscat so we weren’t exactly in the middle of it but in it’s area. That translated into very strong wind, they say it went to 150km/h as the maximum and waves up to 9.8m.
So, how was it really from my perspective?
Saturday afternoon we found out a tropical storm is coming, nothing from the outside was suggesting this but as seeing the map with its trajectory reality started to set in, even more when the authorities announced that no one should leave the house. That was interesting, I guess was the point when the reality of it happening came together, in my head, with with I theoretically knew about a cyclone.
Got out to get some food provisions from the shop, all was still ok.
The peak of it was announced for 4 AM. The wind started blowing in the evening and some drops of rain. We went to sleep with the idea that the wind will wake us up but honestly…what we were also thinking was….will the water get into the apartment? How strong will the wind really be?
Well, was difficult to fall asleep because of the wind banging around the windows and the whole building.
Eventually fell asleep and when I woke up was…8 in the morning, roof was still there, nothing was swimming, wind had calmed a bit but so,, so much rain. The only issue was some water coming from the windows as they are not as the doubled glazed ones in Europe.
On Sunday we only went downstairs and this is the street in front of the building, man…a bit of water!
The Government announced bank holiday for Sunday and Monday with almost everything closed. Sunday the rain eventually stopped and also wind.
Monday we went out for a short walk and then for a drive.
There was water on the streets, the wadis were full.
The 1, as in the main Highway that crosses the city was pretty flooded but in most of the parts the water cleared.
People were cleaning the sides of the road.
But as you can see, mountains are really close to the city so there were landslides and the water was flowing from the mountains straight in the city.
Also the coast is very close and some areas have been affected and people evacuated and that is where electricity was off for a while.
From the whole country perspective, according to the local news and Wikipedia, 14 deaths, thousand of damaged cars, about 1000 homes damaged, broken roads and bridges. And…a year worth of rain in a day!
But still, Muscat came back to almost normal in a day.