Ibri registers record rainfall in April



Muscat: The wilayat of Ibri in the Sultanate recorded a rainfall of 145mm in April 2013, according to a senior official in the Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation at the Civil Aviation Affairs in the Transport and Communications Ministry.

Ibri was closely followed by Jabel Shams, which reported 118mm of rainfall, causing property damage worth thousands of Omani rials, according to officials.

An expert has said that the 145mm rainfall measured in Ibri might be the highest-ever recorded within a span of 10 days in the history of Oman, excluding  at the time of adverse weather conditions.

"The yearly average rainfall in the Sultanate of Oman is just around 100mm," said Dr Andy Yaw Kwarteng, Director, Remote Sensing and GIS Centre, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).

Dr Andy, along with a group of researchers from the Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Centre, recently analysed the characteristics from 27 years of rainfall in Oman using past weather data.

Besides Jabel Shams, two other locations — Bidiyah and Bahla — have recorded rainfall above 100mm in April 2013.

Also, Muscat recorded a little more than 50mm of rainfall, while Sur had the lowest rainfall ever of just above 5mm.

Officials noted that the recent rains were caused by jet streams from Europe travelling west to east, triggering huge rainfalls in Oman. 

According to SQU research, the average yearly rainfall varies from a low of 76.9mm in the interior region to a high of 181.9mm in the Dhofar Mountains, with an average of 117.4mm for the entire country. "In northern Oman, the main rainfall season occurs between December and April and accounts for 57.8-82.9 per cent of the annual rainfall. February and March record the highest rainfall, accounting for 35.3 to 42 per cent of the yearly rains.

"The Dhofar Mountains and surrounding areas in southern Oman are dominated by the Khareef season in July-August, which produces 44.3 to 67.5 per cent of all rainfall in that area. The number of days with light rains of less than 10mm per day are the most common and accounts for 66-95 per cent of all rain," the study said.

Very rare
The study also shows that rain in excess of 50mm per day is very rare in Oman."But when it does occur, it can result in serious consequences such as flash flooding, human catastrophes and land degradation. Rainfall records indicate that Muscat and surrounding areas are susceptible to tropical cyclones and catastrophic rainfalls of greater than 100mm of rainfall per day approximately every 50 years," the report added.

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