Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
THE eastern parts of the country should expect rainfall and windy conditions with effect from today as Cyclone Idai hits the country, the Meteorological Services Department, said yesterday.
In a statement, the MSD said the tropical cyclone had taken a south-westerly direction as predicted earlier.
“By this morning, it is expected to continue moving towards the Mozambique border and is anticipated to make land fall in Beira in the early hours of tomorrow (today).
“Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and central provinces should start experiencing cloudy and windy conditions with isolated thundershowers. Elsewhere, it should be partly cloudy,” read the statement.
The MSD said cloudy conditions were expected countrywide with intermittent moderate rainfall over Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Central provinces. Rainfall of 50 mm is expected within the next 24 hours in some areas, accompanied by strong winds.
The peak of the rainfall is expected between today and tomorrow according to the Met Department.
The MSD said Tropical Cyclone Idai is expected to take a north-westerly direction moving further inland and reaching some parts of the country.
“If the projected movement of the cyclone is maintained, this should continue to bring moisture over most parts of Zimbabwe with significant rainfall (at least 30 mm in 24 hours) over Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central,” it said.
The MSD urged members of the public to follow official communication channels for accurate information and to ignore messages spread from unauthorised sources.
The Civil Protection Unit also warned the public to stay alert of possible flooding when Cyclone Idai hits.
“This particular weather system is expected to give rise to significant rainfall over Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces and may result in increased risk of flooding and damage to homes sand infrastructure.
“Accordingly, all communities in Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Central and other parts of the country that may be affected must maintain vigilance and are advised that every effort must be made to access weather updates and pay particular attention to information needs of people with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses”, said the CPU.
“In case of strong winds, it is safer to shelter in houses with the strongest roofs and to close all windows and doors. Communities should be on the lookout for rising water levels and quickly move to safe places when there is need to do so. Children must be supervised and never play near pools, rivers and streams. Flood water and food which has been in contact with flood water is not safe.
“For those living in cities and towns, the usual fire and ambulance services can be alerted in cases of emergencies. In rural areas, communities should contact local police, councillors or nearest clinic”.
The United Nations reported that by Monday evening, Cyclone Idai, which is moving from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, had killed at least 10 people after heavy rains deluged two flood-prone provinces of the neighbouring country.
About 62 975 people were affected by the floods in Mozambique.—@andile_tshuma