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.
“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 said yesterday.
After years of poaching during the war, the elephants of Maputo Special Reserve in Mozambique are very wary of humans, but hopefully positive interactions with peaceful tourists will change all that.
“The average max wind speed around the depression is 15 knots (100km/h),” she added.
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.”
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.
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. – AFP