A cyclone that may be the most powerful storm ever to hit the Arabian Peninsula is heading toward the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, forcing thousands to evacuate and prompting fears of a spike in oil prices. Oman's coastal towns will take the brunt of Cyclone Gonu, which is producing winds equivalent to those of a Category 5 hurricane.
The Omani government declared a state of emergency and cleared out schools and public buildings to house evacuees. Four US military bases in Oman are also taking precautions. Analysts say that if the cyclone hits oil tankers, a delay in exports from the Gulf could cause prices to surge; crude futures fell today after surging yesterday.