Tehran, June 7, IRNA - Strongest tropical storm to hit Persian Gulf region in decades, Cyclone Gonu, that originated over Sea of Oman, lashed that country, including its capital, hit Iran's islands and southern coast cities as of Wednesday afternoon.
Early Wednesday evening strong winds snapped tree branches, thunder storm lashed, and torrential rain poured over Iran's farthest southeastern coast city of Chabahar, causing Chabahar University officials to call off all classes and evacuate some 4,000 boy and girl students towards safe havens in nearby heights.
The speed of Gonu that was originally around 20 kilometers per hour with winds exceeding 200 KM/h was measured between fifty to sixty kilometers when it lashed Chabahar.
The city residents, and particularly primary and high schools students, too, were evacuated about two hours in advance.
Some storm experts in the region said the severeness of the storm in Chabahar and Konarak port cities had been unprecedented in past 30 years and the level of sea water, too kept on rising as the storm got momentum.
Some people took refuge in their cars when the storm hit, while others rushed to nearest shopping malls and markets.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Lines, HOMA, cancelled its entire flights from Konarak Port International Air Port for 48 hours due to unfavorable weather conditions, including one scheduled for Mashhad, one for Tehran, and one for Bandar Abbas.
In country's capital city, Tehran, the Health Ministry announced that the entire hospitals, health and medical centers in Sistan-o-Baluchestan and Hormuzgan provinces were on red alerts and ready to offer services to the cyclone victims.
Sufficient bottled drinking water, and medicine was rushed to the storm hit regions upon issuance of red alert warning by country's Natural Disasters Headquarters and necessary measures were adopted for erecting a number of field hospitals.
The electricity networks of Chabahar and Konarak port cities that were destroyed during the cyclone were reconstructed urgently by country's electricity technicians at Energy Ministry affiliated Tavanir Company hours later and the technicians are still working to restore the remainder of electrical reconstruction work.
Cyclone Gonu lashed Bandar Abbas port city and various parts of Hormozgan Province at around 17;45 pm Wednesday night with strong winds measured at 200 kilometers per hour, braking strong trees, cutting off electricity, and causing fires in some city locations.
Residents of Iran's Qeshm and Lark islands were evacuated and asked not to return to their cities at least till Thursday afternoon and in Jask torrential rains led to floods that filled at least forty residential homes.
In Kish Island, security measures were adopted and the islanders were warned to be alert, although the cyclone's route was not towards the island.
At around 20 pm Wednesday night Head of Hormuzgan Province Natural Disasters Headquarters warned Bandar Abbas port city residents that the second wave of the cyclone might hit their city at around midnight.
Yasser Hazbavi, all the same asked the city's bakeries to keep baking till midnight, providing bread for the storm hit victims.
Highway Patrol of the Islamic Republic of Iran, too, announced at 10:36 a.m. that Chabahar-Zarabad-Jask road in Sistan-o-Baluchestan has been blocked, announced phone number 882 55 555 (ten lines) for travellers seeking alternative routs round the clock.
Head of Kish Island Meteorology Organization, too, announced late Wednesday night that Gonu that originated over the Sea of Oman is not a Tsunami.
Mahmoud Bahrami added in an interview with IRNA, "Tsunamis take shape due to earthquakes at sea bottom, while this cyclone was formed due to sudden heat increase and over-evaporation of Indian Ocean water."
He said that the height of waves due to Gonu were as high as 12 meters at Oman shores.
Bahrami said that the speed of cyclone Gonu is decreasing and predicted that it would keep roaming and lashing southern Iranian coasts for the next couple of days.
He concluded arguing, "This storm keeps changing directions and no one knows where it would lash next."
... Payvand News - 6/7/07 ... --