According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC), Tropical Cyclone Hikaa is packing maximum sustained winds of 80 knots (92mph/148kmph), making it the equivalent of a Category One hurricane in the Atlantic. The storm is moving westward at a speed of 10 knots. The system is kicking up waves of up to 17 feet, and is expected to strike Oman in the coming days, with affects felt as far as India.
The region’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) had said that although the storm was expected to weaken as it moved towards the Omani coastline, it will still affect Al Sharqiyah and Al Wusta, with landfall expected on Tuesday.
Oman’s National Ferries Company (NFC) has said it will suspend its service on Shannah-Masirah route from this evening until further notice.
A statement from NFC said: “In view of the developing Cyclonic Storm Hika in the Arabian Sea and associated adverse weather conditions, NFC temporarily suspends trips along Shannah–Masirah route.
“The trips’ suspension is for passengers’ safety and comfort, shall take effect this evening, Monday, 23rd September.”
In a statement, PACA said: “The direct effect of the storm is expected to reach South Sharqiyah and Al Wusta by [Tuesday] evening.”
Hikaa is expected to bring heavy rains, with up to two inches possible in parts.
Strong, gust winds are also forecast, along with heavy surf.
PACA said: “A rough sea state is expected over the coastal areas of South Al Sharqiyah and Al Wusta with a maximum wave height of between three and six metres, with chances of seawater inundation over low-level coastal areas.”
PACA urged residents to exercise caution in the approach of Hikaa.
Those in the region are urged to keep away from low-lying areas and avoid crossing wadis (valleys).
PACA also advised fishermen and seafarers to avoid venturing out to sea and follow the latest and updated bulletins from the National Multi Hazard Early Warning Centre.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has also warned that the tail end of the storm could have some impact on the country’s Gujarat coast.
IMD said in a bulletin: “Though Hikaa is unlikely to come towards Gujarat, it will cause strong winds along the state coast.”
IMD also reported another area of activity over West-Central Bay of Bengal off the North Andhra Pradesh coast.
This is expected to send a fresh rain band into the South Peninsula during the latter part of the week.
The region is being monitored by authorities.