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Oman Evacuates Thousands From Storm-Battered Coast


Authorities in Oman have evacuated tens of thousands of people from low-lying coastal areas, as concerns over the strongest cyclone to hit the Arabian Peninsula in decades pushed up oil prices.

In the capital, Muscat, streets were deserted because of heavy rains brought by Cyclone Gonu as it battered Oman's eastern coast.

The storm disrupted oil exports from Oman and slowed shipping through the Straits of Hormuz, a major oil transport route.

The U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which tracks storms in the Indian and Pacific oceans, says Gonu steadily lost strength after reaching land and now has sustained winds of up to 90 kilometers per hour.

The center says the storm is expected to weaken further as it moves north and hits southeastern Iran either Thursday or Friday.

Iranian authorities have begun evacuating people from coastal areas threatened by the storm.

The cyclone had the strength of a maximum-force Category Five hurricane on Tuesday. Strong tropical cyclones also are called hurricanes or typhoons in other regions.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.