How the rains transformed Oman

The rains the country enjoyed over the last four months was truly something to behold. And it will live long in the memory.

Story Gautam Viswanathan

The cooler months of the year are normally the time during which people plan their travels across Oman. The weather is, after all, great, and that alone makes for a very compelling reason to explore the country. In fact so plentiful was the rain that it turned green many of the mountains that form the country’s rugged landscape.

Vegetation grew abundantly, as new plants broke out of the earth’s surface and stretched their green fingers skywards. Pretty flowers, with yellow, pink and white coloured buds, dot the fresh, green landscape, making for some stunning backdrops to the landscapes in Muscat and other cities around Oman, and giving the usually stern mountains a slightly softer look. The rare sprouting of vegetation inspired many parents and children to go out exploring the mountains and their newly-minted green cover.

“It was actually my youngest who pointed to the rain and the mountains outside, and asked us if we could go,” recalled Samantha Barratt, a British expat in the country. “It was hard to keep her still, but I would not let her go outside without her first putting on a raincoat. She was so excited to be jumping up and down in the puddles, and a few of her friends decided to join in as well.

“Of course, Britain is known for its rain, but the rain here was so unexpected, it had a very uplifting feeling about it,” she added. “It was great fun to be outdoors, and we ended up having a really great time with our friends. My daughter is only four, so she is just beginning to experience things like this.”

While it is common for many to plan long-distance trips over the span of a few days during this time of the year, every year, that was not quite the case this time around: Oman received plenty of rainfall between the months of September and January, resulting in many people stepping out of their homes with their friends and families to enjoy the unseasonal weather and take part in the joy brought from the opening of the heavens.

Suhail Mahmood, an Indian expat in the country, went north to Sohar to spend time with their extended family. “The roads were a bit slippery, but we were cautious, and were happy to enjoy the rain, particularly because some of our relatives had come from India, and they were surprised to see it raining this way.
“When people from outside the Gulf think of this region, they have this assumption of it being a hot place with sand, rocks and nothing else,” he added. “They think of it as a desert where it is hot throughout the year. Of course, we know that is not true, so it was good to dispel the stereotype they had. We hope the weather continues to remain good, so that they can have more positive memories of Oman to share with people back in India.”
Wherever people lived in Oman, it seemed they were able to experience the wonders of this weather. Muscat aside, other places also received plenty of rainfall. Within the capital, people in the Wilayats of Seeb, Muttrah and Bousher in particular enjoyed more rainfall, according the Directorate General of Meteorology at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation.
Outside the capital, Barka, Sur, Khasab, Suwaiq, Samail and Mhadha all received decent amount of rainfall, whereas several other places continued to experience cold weather.

The Saiq plateau close to Jabal Akhdar continued to be among the coldest places in the country, with temperatures there having dropped to as low as one degree in January.
Across all of Oman’s governorates, whether it was places such as Thumrait and Salalah in the Dhofar, Sunaynah in Buraimi or Dhank in Al Dhahirah, irrespective of where people in Oman were during the rain, there was no dearth of enjoyment.
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