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Wed 31 Oct 2007 11:30 AM

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Oman braces itself for second cyclone

Tropical storm currently making its way across Arabian Sea with wind speeds of up to 85 km/h.

Still in the process of rebuilding after the devastation caused by Cyclone Gonu, Oman is preparing for the possibility another tropical storm may hit the sultanate at the weekend.

The unnamed storm - known as tropical cyclone 05a - is currently making its way across the Arabian Sea with winds of up to 85 kilometres per hour (km/h).

The storm is expected to be much weaker that Cyclone Gonu, which at its peak was a maximum-force Category Five hurricane with wind speeds over 250 km/h, but due to the damage inflicted by Gonu the sultanate could still be at risk when 05a hits its shores.

“The low pressure system located over the Arabian Sea has formed into a storm and could hit the southern Omani coast around Thursday,” Ahmad Saeed Nasser of the Meteorological Department in Dhofar Governorate told UAE daily Gulf News from Salalah.

The low pressure over the Arabian Sea is centred around 850 kilometres away from Sadah in the Dhofar Governorate in southern Oman, Nasser said.

“The storm is expected to bring with it thunder, heavy rain and subsequent flooding in the Dhofar region,” he said, adding that authorities are making preparations to deal with the conditions, Gulf News reported.

The cyclone could also bring scattered showers and thunderstorms to Saudi Arabia and southern parts of the UAE on Friday, according to weather forecasts.

Oman is still reeling from the havoc wreaked by Gonu in June, which saw at least 50 people killed, leaving a trail of destruction that halted oil and gas exports for almost a weak.

The hurricane - the strongest storm to hit Oman’s coast since 1977 - damaged main roads and bridges connecting the eastern provinces with the capital Muscat and caused floods and landslides across all regions.

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