Powerful cyclone strikes oman, yemen; 6 dead, 30 missing gas prices in texas

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SALALAH, Oman — A cyclone more powerful than any previously recorded in southern Oman slammed into the Gulf country and neighboring Yemen on Saturday, deluging a major city with nearly three years’ worth of rainfall in single day. The storm killed at least six people while more than 30 remain missing, officials said.

Yemeni officials also reported damage in the country’s far east, along the border with Oman. Rageh Bakrit, the governor of al-Mahra province, said on his official Twitter account late Friday that strong winds had blown down houses and taken out communication lines and water services. He said there were no fatalities in the province.

Branches and leaves littered the streets. Several underpasses became standing lakes. Some cars were left abandoned on the road. Electrical workers began trying to repair lines in the city while police and soldiers in SUVs patrolled the streets. On the outskirts of the city, near the Salalah International Airport, what once was a dry creek bed had become a raging river.

The airport, closed since Thursday, will reopen early Sunday, Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation said. The Port of Salalah — a key gateway for the country and for Qatar amid a regional diplomatic dispute — remained closed, its cranes secured against the pounding rain and winds.

Police and others continued their rescue efforts even as the winds and rains calmed. Capt. Tarek al-Shanfari of the Royal Oman Police’s public relations department said there had been at least three fatalities in the storm, including the death of a 12-year-old girl who was hit in the head by a door flung open by the wind.

Yet even as Mekunu barreled overhead, the eye of the storm provided a moment’s respite early Saturday morning. At one luxury hotel in Salalah, which already had evacuated its guests, workers sat down early for “suhoor,” a meal Muslims eat before sunrise during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. They laughed and shared plates by flashlight in a darkened ballroom, the cyclone’s wind a dull roar behind their clatter.

Yemeni officials also reported damage in the country’s far east, along the border with Oman. Rageh Bakrit, the governor of al-Mahra province, said on his official Twitter account late Friday that strong winds had blown down houses and taken out communication lines and water services. He said there were no fatalities in the province.

Branches and leaves littered the streets. Several underpasses became standing lakes. Some cars were left abandoned on the road. Electrical workers began trying to repair lines in the city while police and soldiers in SUVs patrolled the streets. On the outskirts of the city, near the Salalah International Airport, what once was a dry creek bed had become a raging river.

The airport, closed since Thursday, will reopen early Sunday, Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation said. The Port of Salalah — a key gateway for the country and for Qatar amid a regional diplomatic dispute — remained closed, its cranes secured against the pounding rain and winds.

Police and others continued their rescue efforts even as the winds and rains calmed. Capt. Tarek al-Shanfari of the Royal Oman Police’s public relations department said there had been at least three fatalities in the storm, including the death of a 12-year-old girl who was hit in the head by a door flung open by the wind.

Yet even as Mekunu barreled overhead, the eye of the storm provided a moment’s respite early Saturday morning. At one luxury hotel in Salalah, which already had evacuated its guests, workers sat down early for "suhoor," a meal Muslims eat before sunrise during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. They laughed and shared plates by flashlight in a darkened ballroom, the cyclone’s wind a dull roar behind their clatter.