Mozambique lashed with rain, strong winds as cyclone loses power

2019-03-15 12:12
A storm system lashes Mozambique. ( screen grab)

A storm system lashes Mozambique. ( screen grab)

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Mozambique has been lashed by strong winds and widespread rain as a tropical cyclone loses power after making landfall in the country.

Tropical Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique on Thursday night near the city of Beira in Sofala Province, dumping significant rain and strong winds in excess of 70km/h, down from over 100km/h when the system was over the Indian Ocean.

READ: Cyclone set to hit Mozambique hard tonight, dozens already killed

"Currently, it's Overland Depression (ex-Idai) and it is moving in a northerly direction at 6 knots (12km/h)," South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecaster Mbavhi Maliage told News24 on Friday.

"The average max wind speed around the depression is 15 knots (100km/h)," she added.

SA weather impact

READ: Gift of Givers ready to aid Mozambique amid massive cyclone

The cyclone is centred near the city of Chimoio in Manica Province but it is not having a significant impact on South African weather.

"Whenever we get tropical cyclones, it draws moisture away from the country, but this one – because it's further south - there's some moisture of the north eastern Limpopo," said Maliage.

"There's some cloud and light rain; we're not expecting anything heavy."

READ: Massive tropical storm takes aim at Mozambique

If a cyclone hits further north, it usually draws moisture toward it, leaving much dryer air over South Africa's northern parts.

News24 reported that at least 66 people were killed in pre-storm flooding as a result of the storm and an additional 45 people died in Malawi as a result of flooding on Wednesday.

Over the ocean, the winds whipped up waves in excess of 10m, but these should reduce as the storm weakens.

"The waves have decreased to 4m or 5m and by this evening the sea state would have calmed down," Maliage said.

Data from showed the depression dumping rain in excess of 30mm.

Weather patterns

Cyclones are typical for Mozambique at this time of year, but there are concerns that the weather patterns have been increasing in intensity.

According to the Mozambique National Institute for Disaster Management, the National Operational Emergency Centre (CENOE) is prepared for extreme weather events and in 2017, the CENOE demonstrated the use of drones to allow teams to assess the impact and scale of natural disasters.

According to the Mozambican Master Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017-2030, the Mozambique National Institute for Disaster Management argues that over the last 20 years, the country has experienced increasing high intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.

News24 reported that Tropical Storm Dineo with winds in excess of 166km/h hit Mozambique in February 2018. It followed Tropical Storm Desmond which hit in January of the same year.

South African disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers said it was on high alert and waiting for a call from the Mozambican government.

"Our intervention includes 70 personnel (aquatic rescue, rescue technicians, rescue divers, advance life support paramedics and doctors), 22 vehicles (4×4), 10 power boats, 4 jet skis, 14 inflatable, non-motorised two-man rescue boats, a range of rescue equipment and access to an eight-seater plane," the organisation's founder Imtiaz Sooliman said in a brief statement.

But for the SAWS, the storm is personal.

"It's really bad because we have people who have been sent there to assist. I just realised there's quite a few people who have been sent there," Maliage said.

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Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  saws  |  mozambique  |  southern africa  |  storms  |  cyclone idai  |  weather

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