Massive tropical storm takes aim at Mozambique

2019-03-11 12:00
Storm front. (file)

Storm front. (file)

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A powerful tropical cyclone could hit Mozambique by the end of the week, says the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

Tropical Cyclone Idai has developed in strength and is forecast to make landfall by Saturday, March 16.

"When it makes landfall, it weakens slightly but the impact is still there. The winds are still strong – about 50 knots or 100km/h," SAWS forecaster Venetia Phakula told News24 on Monday.

READ: Intense cyclone barrels toward Mozambique

The cyclone is expected to lash the country with heavy rain and strong winds in the northern parts.

"Most of the rain is in the northern parts of Mozambique. It's forecast to be 90mm in 24 hours on the 16th of March," said Phakula.

Mozambican authorities alerted

Idai is expected to produce about triple the amount of rain that fell during the devastating October 2018 Gauteng storms.

SAWS said that it was in communication with Mozambican authorities through its national joint operations centre (NATJOC).

"We even have a NATJOC – they come together and distribute information to all relevant countries. There is communication between us and the Mozambican people," said Phakula.

Data from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) showed a strong storm system over the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique and west of Madagascar.

According to, the cyclone will travel in a southerly direction and weaken substantially by Friday when peak wind speed is expected to drop to 70km/h.

News24 reported that Tropical Storm Dineo, with winds in excess of 166km/h, hit Mozambique in February last year. It followed Tropical Storm Desmond, which hit in January of the same year.

"This is typical weather for this time of year," said Phakula.


In 2000, 800 people in Mozambique died as a result of floods caused by heavy rains.

Phakula warned that storms can be unpredictable.

"You might expect it to make landfall in one area and then it changes direction."

The system is not expected to have a significant impact on the weather in South Africa.

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Read more on:    saws  |  mozambique  |  southern africa  |  cyclone idai  |  weather

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