Tropical storm Eloise gathers steam, set to cause havoc in parts of South Africa with extreme rain

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Forecasted track of Eloise issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) La Reunion (MeteoFrance). Image courtesy of RSMC: La Reunion
Forecasted track of Eloise issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) La Reunion (MeteoFrance). Image courtesy of RSMC: La Reunion

The SA Weather Service (Saws) has updated the information it has on the tropical storm Eloise, and have reported that she’s gathering steam and is set to cause havoc in parts of South Africa. They've warned of "extreme rainfall" leading to widespread flooding, damage to roads and bridges and possible displacement of affected communities.

Eloise is currently situated over the northern parts of Madagascar, expected to move south-westwards and enter the Mozambique Channel on Thursday (21 January).

“Once entering these warm waters, Eloise is expected to intensify further, reaching Intense Tropical Cyclone intensity on Saturday, just before making landfall around Vilankulos, Mozambique that evening. As Eloise makes landfall, storm surge, excessive rain and very destructive winds (166-213 km/h) are expected along the Mozambique coastline and adjacent interior."

What does this mean for South Africa?

After making landfall, Eloise is expected to track further south-westwards towards the border of South Africa and Mozambique. While overland, weakening is expected to take place, however, extreme rainfall is still expected over southern Mozambique, the eastern lowveld and escarpment of Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces as well as northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa on Sunday, (24 January) and continuing into Monday, (25 January).

SAWS warned that the possible impacts as a result of all this rain include widespread flooding, damage to roads and bridges as well as possible displacement of affected communities.

This system is likely to result in Gauteng and North West provinces also receiving some rainfall on Monday and Tuesday, however at this stage such rainfall is not expected to be of an extreme or damaging nature or result in the impacts mentioned above.

SAWS said it is important to note that the accurate prediction of the track (or path) of tropical weather disturbances is very challenging indeed.

"Tropical weather systems are notorious for their often erratic and unpredictable movement. SAWS will therefore continue to closely monitor this system and will keep the public advised via regular updates across a variety of media platforms."

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