STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Cyclone hits Yemeni island ahead of landfall on Yemen, Oman coast

Seventeen people are missing after tropical Cyclone Mekunu swept through Yemen's southern island of Socotra, state me...

Posted: May 25, 2018 12:42 PM
Updated: May 25, 2018 12:42 PM

Seventeen people are missing after tropical Cyclone Mekunu swept through Yemen's southern island of Socotra, state media said, ahead of its expected landfall later Friday near the border of mainland Yemen and Oman.

The internationally recognized Yemeni government declared Socotra a "disaster zone," confirming that two ships capsized and three cars were swept away by storm waters late Wednesday, state-run news agency SABA reported.

Cyclone Mekunu is now menacing coastal areas near the border of Yemen and Oman, with landfall -- when the exact center of the storm crosses the coast -- expected west of the Omani city of Salalah late afternoon or early evening local time Friday.

The storm was sustaining winds of 165 kilometers per hour (103 mph) as of 7:30 a.m. ET, equivalent to the strength of a category two hurricane, CNN forecasters said, with heavy bands of rain already moving ashore. The strongest winds will be felt where the eye crosses the coast.

Mekunu could bring between 100 and 250 millimeters (roughly four to 10 inches) of rainfall, in an area that usually averages 100 millimeters or less in a year, along with coastal waves up to 30 feet high.

The US Embassy in Oman issued a weather alert advising people to avoid travel to the affected area until the storm has dissipated.

"Residents of coastal areas in and around Salalah have been evacuated further inland," it said. "Expect heavy rains and strong winds with possible flooding, mudslides, power outages and difficult travel conditions in southern Oman."

Footage from Oman TV showed heavy rain and cars driving through flood waters.

'Stricken' island province

The internationally recognized government's President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi deployed the Yemeni Navy to assist in rescue and relief efforts on Socotra, which is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site for its biodiversity.

He also "called on all humanitarian organizations concerned with disaster relief to help with providing aid to the archipelago's people," according to SABA.

Socotra province is "stricken with human and material damages at all levels," government spokesman Rajeh Badi is quoted as saying by SABA. Governor of Socotra Ramzi Mahroos said 17 people were still unaccounted for, SABA said. Others remain displaced or trapped.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Yemen pledged to help authorities in Socotra in the aftermath of the storm, according to Saudi state news agency SPA. Military planes carrying "tens of thousands of tons of relief, shelter and medical supplies" will head to the island as soon as weather permits, said Mohammed Al-Jabir.

Yemen already faces a humanitarian crisis after more than three years of civil war.

The United Nations recently declared the situation in Yemen the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people -- that is, three-quarters of the population -- in desperate need of aid and protection.

Flood warnings

A storm of Cyclone Mekunu's magnitude is a rare occurrence in the Arabian peninsula. In the past 50 years, only three hurricane-strength storms have hit the Gulf of Aden. None of them were in the area where Mekunu is forecast to make landfall.

A time-lapse video posted Friday by Ahmed Alyafai in Dhofar Governorate showed strong winds blasting palm trees on the coast.

Oman's Meteorology Directorate issued warnings for the Dhofar and Al Wusta coastal regions of very heavy rainfall and strong winds, with rising sea levels that will cause floods. Residents are urged to stay out of the water because the sea is expected to be very rough.

After making landfall, the cyclone is likely to dissipate quickly, within 24 to 48 hours, as it encounters the region's dry and rugged desert terrain, CNN forecasters said.

Cyclone Mekunu comes on the heels of another storm just a week earlier -- Cyclone Sagar. Although it caused little reported damage in Yemen and Oman, the storm pummeled nearby Somalia, where local media reported at least 31 dead and thousands displaced.

In 2007, Cyclone Gonu killed dozens and displaced thousands as it lashed through Oman, as well as causing massive disruption to oil production.

Huntsville
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 36°
Florence
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 41°
Fayetteville
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 34°
Decatur
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 38°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
34° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 34°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 374493

Reported Deaths: 4602
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby48561673
Davidson43546421
Knox19358150
Rutherford18248163
Hamilton17311153
Williamson1168080
Sumner10123137
Out of TN811056
Wilson777980
Montgomery691585
Sullivan6641101
Washington6272108
Maury610667
Putnam600982
Blount575261
Bradley546935
Madison5445111
Sevier512133
Unassigned488822
Robertson389553
Tipton375339
Hamblen360761
Gibson332065
Dyer325451
Greene324872
Anderson310729
Dickson300434
Coffee288642
Carter286057
Bedford285132
Lawrence276134
Obion271751
McMinn267955
Cumberland266536
Roane243929
Warren243120
Jefferson236533
Loudon234819
Fayette230239
Hardeman227837
Monroe223244
Weakley221737
Franklin217935
Lauderdale208023
Hawkins204034
Wayne194610
Trousdale191512
Henderson190134
Macon186028
White180818
Rhea180132
Hardin180025
Marshall179622
Carroll178534
Lincoln166217
Haywood165830
Cheatham165317
Cocke165330
Campbell160323
Henry159319
Overton156435
Giles150249
Smith147720
Johnson144923
McNairy142433
Fentress124420
Hickman121619
DeKalb120422
Bledsoe11895
Lake11786
Crockett117126
Marion112219
Scott11197
Grainger105017
Chester104221
Decatur96112
Unicoi90226
Claiborne8979
Benton84214
Grundy79214
Cannon7864
Lewis77714
Morgan7626
Humphreys7418
Union7375
Jackson69410
Polk69415
Stewart61015
Houston59220
Clay56018
Sequatchie5465
Meigs51013
Perry49221
Moore4043
Pickett39513
Van Buren3792
Hancock1833

Community Events