Snow falls on Jebel Shams in Oman

Extreme weather and fluctuating temperatures have hit sultanate in past few years

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Winter has arrived on Oman's mountainous terrain with snowfall and freezing temperatures.

Snow fell on Jebel Shams in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate on Monday evening. The temperature on Oman’s tallest mountain plummeted under minus 2°C, with frozen vegetation clinging to its rocky peaks.

Oman's meteorology department said the lowest temperature recorded in the past 24 hours from its Jebel Shams station was minus 2.1°C.

Standing slightly higher than 3,000m, Jebel Shams and the adjoining Jebel Akhdhar are the coldest places in the sultanate where the temperature can be as low as minus 5°C in winter and is rarely above 40°C in summer.

Some towns on higher ground can become isolated during the winter months as the harsh conditions of ice and snow make the area hard to reach.

“We stock up well for the months between January and March because transportation is difficult up here,” Jebel Shams resident Hashim Al Riyami told The National.

Maintaining contact with the outside world can also be problematic, he said, as communication towers become covered by snow.

Global warming apparent in sultanate

Oman was hammered by heavy rain last month, leading to flooded streets and homes. Two people were killed in the extreme weather.

Last summer, 19 were killed as torrential rain brought rapid waters to the wadis and high waves on beaches across Oman during the Eid Al Adha holiday.

The country's Civil Defence and Ambulance Authority had to close tourist sites until the weather eased, because people were not following warnings to stay away from flooded wadis and coastal areas.

Last year was the hottest on record in many part of the world, including parts of Europe and the Middle East, the EU's Earth Observation Programme said.

Data analysed by Copernicus showed it was the fifth-warmest year worldwide since 1950.

There were prolonged heatwaves and floods in many areas, as well as historically high temperatures in both polar regions.

Flooding in Oman triggered by heavy rain that began at the end of 2021 killed six people and left several towns cut off.

Cyclone Shaheen devastated the country and killed 11 people in October of that year.

Updated: January 25, 2023, 5:09 AM
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