There is apprehension over the predicted Cyclone expected in Mozambique.
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.
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.
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 Windy.com, the cyclone will travel in a southerly direction and weaken substantially by Friday when peak wind speed is expected to drop to 70km/h.
Earlier in January, Cyclone Desmond swept up the Mozambique Channel on Tuesday, and though it did not make landfall on the coast of Sofala province, it brought torrential rains and serious flooding, particularly to the provincial capital, the city of Beira.
According to the National Meteorology Institute (INAM), 277 millimetres of rain fell in Beira on Tuesday, turning the streets into rivers and affecting around 120,000 people. The water was a metre deep in parts of the city.
Despite recent improvements in the city’s drainage system, Beira remains at serious risk from extreme weather events. Parts of the city are below sea level, and major storms always worsen coastal erosion.