Cyclone storm passes Oman, heads towards Iran
Tropical Cyclone Gonu weakened as it passed through the Arabian Sea and headed for the Strait of Hormuz towards Iran, forecasters said on Wednesday. The storm, which reached the equivalent of a maximum-force Category Five hurricane on Tuesday, has been downgraded to a Category One hurricane, Reuters reported.
This is based on the maximum sustained wind speed of the storm, which is just about 92 miles per hour (mph), a report posted on the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.
The center of the storm is now expected to hit land in southeastern Iran over the next 36 hours.
Gonu had disrupted Oman's oil and gas exports, closed its stock exchange as well as private and public institutions until Saturday, while national carrier Oman Air had halted all flights.
The storm is expected to get weaker due to cooler ocean water, dry air from the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, interaction with land and increasing vertical wind shear, said the Weather Underground Web site
The last hurricane-strength tropical cyclone to hit Iran was in 1945.
On Tuesday, Oman's Mina al Fahal oil terminal, the only outlet for Oman's 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil shipments, was shut as storms hit the area. It was reopened later as the storm weakened. Exports from the Sur export terminal, which handles 10 million tons per year of liquefied natural gas exports, was also closed.
Streets in Oman were flooded but there are no reports of serious injuries or damage, the AP said.