DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Latest on Cyclone Mekuni (all times local):
Images circulated online from Yemen's Socotra island show soaking wet residents attempting to find shelter from Cyclone Mekunu, which pounded the area on its path toward Oman.
The photos and video footage, which went viral Thursday, showed strong winds spiraling over the Middle Eastern island and rain, flash flooding and mudslides.
Socotra, listed by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site, has a unique ecosystem and is home to rare species of plants, land snails and reptile species, many of which can be found nowhere else on the planet.
Meteorologists expected the "very severe" cyclone to strike Oman on Saturday near Salalah, the sultanate's third-largest city and home to some 200,000 people near the country's border with Yemen.
The Yemeni island of Socotra has been pounded by Cyclone Mekunu, which is on a path to strike Oman this weekend.
India's Meteorological Department said in a bulletin Thursday morning that the storm was some 190 kilometers, or 118 miles, east-northeast of Socotra Island.
The department said the storm, now described as "very severe," was some 475 kilometers —about 295 miles — off the coast of Salalah, one of Oman's biggest cities.
There was no immediate word from Socotra.
The island, listed by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site, has been the focus of a dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Yemen's internationally recognized government amid that country's war. Saudi troops recently deployed there.
Meteorologists anticipate the storm making landfall near Salalah and neighboring Yemen on Saturday morning.