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Learning English - Words in the News
06 June, 2007 - Published 13:55 GMT
High winds hit Oman
Oman storm

In the Gulf state of Oman, thousands of people have fled their homes because of an unusually powerful cyclone. The cyclone has started to batter the coast of the country with winds of up to 260 kilometres an hour. This report from Julia Wheeler:

Listen to the story

The powerful storm which has hit the south-eastern coast of Oman is bringing both strong winds and waves of up to twelve metres high. It was widely predicted and the Omani government had taken the precaution of evacuating low-lying areas. On the mainland, this south-eastern facing shore is sparsely populated. Further north, in the coastal capital of Muscat, people have been advised to stay indoors and to switch off their power. Schools have been designated as emergency shelters and the main Seeb international airport, west of Muscat, is closed.

Forecasts of the storm saw concern and a price rise in oil markets earlier in the week but these fell back on Tuesday. Oman's oil output is not as high as some of its neighbours and analysts say there would be more market volatility if the serious effects of the storm were expected in Iran. By the time the storm gets to south-eastern Iran, as predicted, it's forecast to be a lower level storm with heavy rains and strong winds.

There's been some suggestion the cyclone could disrupt oil tanker traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway between the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. This storm is being described as the strongest to hit the Arabian Peninsula since records began in 1945.

Julia Wheeler, BBC News, Dubai

Listen to the words

It was widely predicted
a lot of people thought something (here, the cyclone) would happen

taken the precaution
put safety measures in place

evacuating low-lying areas
moving people away from land that isn't on hills or mountains but at or near the level of the sea

sparsely populated
a place where not many people live

designated as emergency shelters
selected as places where people can go to be safe during a crisis or difficult time

saw concern
made people worry

these fell back
oil prices went down to what they had been before the storm

market volatility
sudden increases and decreases in prices

There's been some suggestion the cyclone
some people have thought that the severe storm

disrupt oil tanker traffic
stop ships that carry oil travelling as usual

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