Heavy rain and thunderstorms hit several areas of Oman on Thursday causing floods, ruining crops and disrupting electricity supply a day before the start of the Eid Al Adha holidays, according to state-run Oman TV and The National News.
Farmers in the northern Al Dakhaliya governorate said heavy rain have swept away their crops.
“I can see my lettuce, tomatoes, cabbages, limes, carrots and cucumbers floating in the fast currents. It is too dangerous to dive in and get them. I am just watching helplessly half of my crops being wasted in flood,” Rashid Al Sarmi, 48, a farmer in the town of Manah in the Al Dakhliya region, told The National by phone.
Heavy rain also disrupted traffic in some parts of the capital, Muscat, cutting off towns and forcing the police to closed off roads.
The meteorological office cautioned that the unpredictable weather would continue for several days.
“People living in low-lying areas must take caution and travel only when needed,” the weather bureau said.
“The weather will continue to be unpredictable for several days in most areas of Oman and there will be more disruptions of basic services.”
Meteorologists said it was unusual for Oman to experience heavy rain in July.
“Normally we have this in April or towards the end of the year but not in July. But this time, low pressure coming from the Gulf of Oman is causing a lot of heavy rains in the mainland and across the countries,” forecaster Ahmed Al Rawahi told The National.
The torrential weather came at a time when Omanis are preparing for the week-long Eid holidays which is starting tomorrow.
“It is not safe to go out shopping today and it may not be safe to go out tomorrow because of the weather unpredictability. We need to buy food for the Eid especially from tomorrow because the lockdown starts early from 5pm,” Salim Al Shanfari, 31, a resident in Amerat neighbourhood south of Muscat, told the National.
“I hope the rain will die down in the next three days so we can shop safely before the total lockdown starts.”
Oman has been under an 8pm to 4am lockdown since June 2. But the lockdown will be extended from tomorrow for three hours to start from 5pm to 4am until July 30.
Some Omanis said there was little cheer left to celebrate for Eid Al Adha.
“It is not just the bad weather which is depressing but we are thinking of the total lockdown during the Eid days. We cannot go out now because of the flooding and slippery roads and soon we will be locked for three days inside our house, even if the weather improves,” said Zahra Al Lawati, 43, a retailer in the City Centre shopping mall in Muscat.
Oman has ordered a total lockdown during the first three days of Eid, from July 20 to July 22, to keep down the number of infections by avoiding gatherings.
Oman has reported 14 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday and 904 new infection cases. It is the lowest number of coronavirus deaths in the last one and half months.Take a look at the news about one of the natural wonders of Oman: Salalah is under threat of flooding.