A rare and intense cyclone was battering the coast of Oman in the early hours of Sunday morning. At least three people, have died in the storm, including one child.
The Times of Oman says two workers were killed when a housing complex collapsed outside the capital of Muscat; the collapse left several others stuck in the rubble. They also report that a child drowned in floodwaters brought on by the storm.
The category 1 cyclone, which has been named Shaheen, started as a tropical storm and has a wind speed of 120-139 kilometers per hour, or roughly 75-86 mph, the Civil Aviation Authority-Sultanate of Oman tweeted.
The Indian government’s Meteorological Department tweeted that the cyclone will cross the coast of Oman early Monday morning as a “severe cyclonic storm.”
Officials in Oman have encouraged thousands of residents on the coast to evacuate their homes, Reuters reported. Flights in and out of Muscat have been suspended.
It is rare for cyclones to make their way through the Arabian Sea, but as climate change worsens, sea temperatures have risen, making natural disasters like this more common.
The last time Oman was hit by a cyclone this intense was in 2007 with Cyclone Gonu, recorded as the strongest cyclone to ever come through the Arabian Sea. The storm caused billions of dollars of damage and 50 people died in Oman. An additional 28 people died in Iran from the cyclone, which was the first storm to hit Iran since 1898.