Intriguingly, there's a hurricane-force cyclone about to hit the coast of Oman. Over on the Weather Underground there's a long blog post about Cyclone Gonu by one of their meteorologists. While the BBC article claims that evactuations are underway, this could be a nasty event if the authorities haven't been paying attention:
Imagine that you live directly on the Gulf, but in a place where it hardly ever rains, and where a hurricane has never hit, for at least a generation -- for more than sixty years. Your community and many like yours are situated not only directly on the water, but near or in large dry riverbeds on the coastal plain, which is a narrow strip of sandy shoreline that is the dropoff for the three-thousand-foot mountain range behind it. ... And you don't have any idea what storm surge is...
Of course, most of the world is rather more concerned with the economic importance of this region, and after sideswiping Oman the cyclone is headed for Iran and the Straight of Hormuz. oil prices have been jumpy this week as a result. Again from the meteorology blog, a troubling note:
This is an unprecedented event. NO CYCLONE has ever entered the Gulf of Oman. And there are no custom 'storm surge' models available for that area. This forecast is based on my experience and subjective analysis of the seabed slope and storm surge interaction with the sea floor. Considering the region has never experienced a hurricane, let alone a strong one it is highly unlikely the loading facilities or platforms were constructed to withstand the forces
On the bright side, we've got plenty of troops in the Persian Gulf region who, I'm sure, would much rather help clean up after a hurricane than drive around dodging IEDs in Baghdad.