Freak rain, hail, snow and dust storms hit Oman

Dust storms, hail and intermediate rain accompanied by thunder and lightning battered Muscat and Sohar throughout yesterday. 
The rain submerged roads, saw wadis overflow, uprooted trees and reportedly left residents staring at tens of thousands of rials in damages.
Freak hailstorm
While Barka, Musannah and Mabelah were hammered by the freak hailstorm at around 10:30am, heavy rain resulting in overflowing of wadis in Sohar, Saham, Samail and Al Khabourah, apart from Suwaiq and Rustaq.
According to civil defence officials, all wadis in Al Buraimi, North Batinah and South Batinah had started to overflow by the evening. By the afternoon itself, police had started tweeting multi-lingual warnings advising people to remain safe.
“Intermediate rain fell between Samail and old Muscat throughout the day resulting in overflowing wadis and slowing down of traffic on the waterlogged roads. So far there have been no untoward incidents,” said Bader Ali Al Baddaei, an administrator of a local Web-based forum that discusses weather trends in Oman.
Earlier in the day, civil defence officials tweeted that three people who were trapped in an overflowing wadi in Saham and another person caught in a wadi in Al Khabourah, were rescued by citizens before the police arrived at the spot.
According to the Oman meteorological department, rain is due to low pressure developed in the northern part of Oman.
Road closed
Meanwhile, residents in Sohar told Times of Oman in the evening that Al Falaj road to Dubai in Sohar was closed as it was submerged.
“Rains began in Sohar on Friday night itself. Falaj road has been closed and the police are allowing only trucks. I went twice to the area but the police sent me back,” said Sailesh, a Sohar resident.
At the Oman-Dubai border, travellers were frustrated with the long wait at checkpoints which had disrupted their weekend holiday plans.
Meanwhile, low lying areas in Muscat like Al Gubhra, Hamriya, Al Amerat, Qurum, Darsait, and Muttrah Corniche were flooded.
“At around 11am itself, water started to enter Muttrah Souq. To avoid damage, we closed the shops,” said traders there.
In the past, rainwater had entered the Muttrah Souq had caused heavy financial damage to traders.
Traffic disruption
Meanwhile, the weather also caused a disruption in traffic with long queues moving slowly on the highways ruining the weekend for many families.
However, residents in the severely hit areas in Wilayat of Batinah were left counting the costs of the relentless rain that lashed the region yesterday.
“A tree was uprooted and fell on my car,” Hareb Al Badri, a resident of Musannah told Times of Oman over the phone. “The problem is that I forgot to renew my insurance which expired three days ago,” he added.
In Saham, a pick-up swerved and ploughed into a house but luckily no one was hurt because the family was in Dubai holidaying, said neighbours.
“We heard this crashing sound and saw the pick-up half away inside the front door. We called our neighbour to tell him what had happened to his house,” said Khalil Al Hashil.
Snow also fell in Batinah covering the roads and the roofs of the houses like a white blanket, and farmers in the region were more concerned about the damage to their crops than their properties.
“It is like Europe here. It is freezing, but we are more worried about what we grow here. Our fruits and vegetables are all covered with snow and I don’t think we will be able to sell them in the market,” said Suhail Al Ramadhani, a farmer in Saham.
Meanwhile, braving the rain yesterday evening nationals in Ruwi held a march to express their loyalty to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and prayed for his good health.

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