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Worst tropical cyclone in a decade may strike Mozambique on Friday

16 March 2019

A powerful tropical cyclone is forecast to make landfall by Saturday, March 16, said the South African Weather Service (SAWS), News24 reported earlier on Monday.

Based on data of the expected tropical cyclone path IDAI, wind speeds zones from Joint Research Centre (Issued on 12 March 2019 00:00 UTC), and population data from WorldPop 2015, UNITAR-UNOSAT conducted a population exposure analysis for Mozambique. "The main effects of tropical cyclone include heavy rains, strong winds, large storm surges at landfall and tornadoes". Current satellite imagery indicates Idai to be located at the central parts of the Mozambique channel (located at 18.4 degrees south and 41.8 degrees east at 08:00 SAST) with a central pressure of 973 hPa and a maximum average wind speed of 70 knots (140km/h).

"We even have a NATJOC - they come together and distribute information to all relevant countries".

Presently Idai (currently WATCH GREEN- category, see table below) is moving south-westwards at a speed of 5 km/h; if this present speed and trajectory is maintained, it is expected to start moistening the country's atmosphere beginning with the Eastern Highlands on Thursday evening, 14 March.

Tropical Cyclone Idai’s expected landfall trajectory
Tropical Cyclone Idai’s expected landfall trajectory

News24 reported that Tropical Storm Dineo, with winds in excess of 166km/h, hit Mozambique in February past year.

"This is typical weather for this time of year", said Phakula. In 2000, Cyclone Eline hit an already flood-affected central Mozambique, leaving about 463 000 people homeless.

Although some uncertainty exists for both the timing and location of the system, guidance from La Reunion indicates that it will make landfall near the Beira area.

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Worst tropical cyclone in a decade may strike Mozambique on Friday