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Cyclone Phet batters coastal Oman

By Kim Kelaita, CNN
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Cyclone Phet reaches Oman
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Phet dumps heavy rain along coast of Oman
  • Once powerful storm weakens
  • Phet is forecast to hit Pakistan Sunday

Muscat, Oman (CNN) -- Cyclone Phet weakened as it churned along coastal Oman Friday, dumping up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain on the region.

Phet, once a powerful Category 4 storm, has been downgraded to Category 1 with winds of about 140 km/hr (86 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Yet Phet brought massive flooding to Muscat and whipped the capital with winds gusting above 200 km/hr (125 mph) at the height of the storm.

The storm is forecast to reenter the Arabian Sea late Friday or early Saturday before making a projected landfall near Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday.

In Pakistan, authorities dispatched Navy helicopters to alert fishermen near Karachi and parts of Balochistan to the expected arrival of Cyclone Phet and to urge them to return to shore, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported Thursday.

Navy units were on high alert should they be needed in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Fourteen families marooned Thursday by high tides were evacuated by helicopter to higher ground, said Pakistani Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Nauman Bashir.

Civilians along Pakistan's coast will receive priority in the relief effort, dubbed "Operation Madad," should it be needed, he said.

The Pakistan navy secured its ships near the threatened areas, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) Vice Adm. Abass Raza told reporters in Islamabad.

"All the assets of Pakistan navy are safe and necessary precautionary measures have been taken to ensure their safety in case cyclone Phet hits the coastal areas of country," he said.

 
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