Weatherwatch: Oman’s hot, dry climate has rainy exceptions


The gulf state of Oman may be mostly desert, with an annual rainfall of less than 135mm (5in), but there is one exception to this. In the north, the mountain range of Jebel Akhdar, which rises to just over 3,000 metres (10,000ft), receives as much as 500mm (20in) of rainfall, spread fairly evenly throughout the year.

Just over 20 degrees north of the equator, and bisected by the tropic of cancer, Oman’s overall climate is mostly hot and dry in summer and warm in winter, with any rainfall in the lowland areas occurring between the months of October and April. The capital, Muscat, is fairly typical with summer temperatures usually between 36C and 38C, while in winter it is a more pleasant 20C to 25C.

However, summer temperatures can reach well into the 40s, and in June 2020 they peaked at 47.3C at the Hamra Al Drooa weather station.

More extreme weather events include the Shamal, meaning “north”, a hot north-westerly wind that blows in spring and summer, bringing frequent sandstorms. Tropical cyclones are less frequent but can be more damaging: in June 2007 Cyclone Gonu – the strongest storm recorded in the region – caused $4bn worth of damage and 50 deaths, in Oman’s worst natural disaster.


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