The tropical cyclone Mekunu with hurricane strength is growing more and more in the Arabian Sea. The storm is forecast to plunge into southwestern Oman and hit maximum sustained winds from about 110 mph late Friday to early Saturday local time.
If the actual landing storm is so strong, it would be the strength of a high-end category 2 or low-end category 3 hurricane. In recorded history, no storm of that intensity hit that region.
Mekunu is currently classified as a very severe cyclone storm, packing top winds of 90 miles per hour. His predicted path brings him very close to or just west of the city of Salalah, Oman's second largest town with a population of about 200,000
Salalah, a popular tourist destination, could be exposed to both destructive winds and devastating floods of rain and dangerously high seas  Like a bulldozer, the storm will send a massive storm surge into the coast and raise the water level at least a few feet above the normally dry land to the east of where it lands. Low-lying houses, shops and streets can be devoured by the sea water.
The number of flood disasters could be particularly high. In Salalah, the annual average rainfall is around 5 inches. Mekunu could unload twice this annual amount in just one or two days.
Computer model predictions show a streak of 8 to 16 inches of rain along and just east of the Storm Center's path.
Mountainous area just inland from the coast can be hit particularly hard. "[M] Oisture-laden winds will plow directly into the Qara Mountains and be forced upwards," write Bob Henson and Jeff Masters on the Weather Underground Category 6 blog. "From these hillsides to the coastal plain, torrential drain is too expect."
Al Jazeera reports that officials in Salalah are preparing the city for serving:
The police called on citizens to seek security and warned that flooding in valleys was likely. It also said it plans to move more ambulances and police into areas likely to be affected by the cyclone.
The Department of Health also said it had evacuated critically ill patients at Sultan Qaboos Hospital's Salalah hospital and airlifted them north to Muscat, the country's capital. State television aired images of others being evacuated from remote villages along the cyclone route.
While southwestern Oman is likely to experience the worst effects of the storm, areas in eastern Yemen may also experience significant flooding. [Thursday] The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the conditions were favorable for the storm to moderate moderately in the last 24 to 36 hours before landing. The sea temperatures along the way of the storm are mid-80s (near 30 degrees Celsius) and provide plenty of fuel for the storm. As soon as it moves over land, it is then predicted that it will quickly weaken.
Since 1980, 16 tropical cyclones have traveled within 100 miles of the coast of Oman and Yemen. But only three landed on hurricane strength:
Mekunu follows the landing site of the cyclone Sagar in Somalia, which was the strongest storm in history that hit that land and landed in the North Indian Ocean farther west every previous storm in record time.