Cyclone Gonu Hits Persian Gulf

June 6, 2007

A rare tropical cyclone – the strongest since 1945, when record keeping began – is passing through the oil rich Persian Gulf region. At one point, while it was well out to sea in the Indian Ocean, TC Gonu packed winds in excess of 155 mph (248 kph), an extremely powerful category 5 storm.

By the time it made landfall on the East Coast of the Sultanate of Oman the winds had slowed to between 74 and 95 mph (118 to 152 kph), a category 1 storm. Nonetheless local authorities evacuated low lying areas, including the 7000 inhabitants of the island of Masira, off Oman’s east coast.

Storm surge waves up to 12 meters (36 feet) were reported, while heavy rains lashed the usually arid region.

Some temporary interruptions in the flow of oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz can be expected, but so far there have been no reports of fatalities or serious property damage. The main force of the storm is expected to pass through Oman later today and early Thursday.

Gonu is expected to weaken, as it heads northeast towards southern Iran.

Sources include: BBC, Weather Underground, AP, AFP

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