Tropical Cyclone Idai intensifies over Mozambique
Residents in central Mozambique were on Thursday, 14 March 2019, bracing for a tropical cyclone described as "extremely dangerous" by weather experts, with imminent landfall expected near the port city of Beira, which has a population of about 530 000 people. "This storm has already triggered torrential rainfall that's led to over 100 fatalities in southern Malawi and Mozambique," according to Derek van Dam, reporting international media. Storm Report SA said Cyclone Idai had regained major intensity during Wednesday night. "Travelling at a speed of 11kph, with sustained winds of 195kph and gusting at 240kph, she now is once again an extremely dangerous cyclone," said Storm Report.
Hurricane/Typhoon/Cyclone Alerts shared this on Facebook, "All people/friends in Mozambique from Inhassoro to Quelimane, are urged to prepare for intense cyclone conditions including torrential tropical squalls, life-threatening coastal and inland flooding and 185-220kph winds and a 3-5 metre storm surge." It advised residents to seek shelter or to evacuate in preparation for Cyclone Idai, which was due to make landfall on Thursday in Sofala province, near Beira.
Invest 98S, a tropical depression in the Mozambican channel intensified to a moderate tropical storm overnight on 11 March 2019. The latest warnings state that an overall red alert has been issued for Mozambique and red score by Global Disaster Alerting Coordination System (GDACS). According to the Saffir-Simpson scale, Cyclone Idai is now and extremely dangerous category 4 storm and has explosively intensified in the past eight hours. IDAI-19 is now at such intensity that she can have a high humanitarian impact. This is based on the maximum sustained wind speed, exposed population and vulnerability.
This tropical storm is now called Idai and has been named by Meteo France and was intensifying off the western coast of Madagascar on Monday morning. The storm could rapidly intensify as it turns south and then westwards over the Mozambique Channel, with a landfall likely in central Mozambique on Thursday or Friday, 14-15 March 2019, as an intense cyclone.
The nature of its intensification phase will likely be determined by its early track, with a higher chance of intensification if the storm continues to move at a significant speed without stalling.
The precursor to Idai has already killed 23 in Malawi, with 12 still missing and 29 injured. A green alert for Mozambique has been issued and direct impact remains high.
It was previously reported that Idai had maximum winds of 75 kilometres per hour and maximum gusts of 110 kilometres per hour. The winds on Monday intensified to 185 kilometres per hour and, although she is moving at 5km per hour slower than last week this shouldn’t fool anyone and Storm Report SA warns “she is picking up more strength very quickly”.
If anything started affecting the northeastern parts of South-Africa, Storm Report SA would update promptly. For now they were monitoring the situation every hour.
On Tuesday morning, Storm Report SA said, “IDAI has become a cyclone, hardly moving in the past 24 hours but is now expected to start shifting slowly westward, making landfall in the vicinity of the Mozambique port of Beira late on Thursday. That uncommon course is dictated by a high altitude wind system. The storm looks set to remain rather small in diameter, which will minimise the size of the areas impacted. At present, those are the districts of Sofala and Zambezia (especially the south side) where today there will be some light showers in a light southerly breeze.”
At this stage it poses a minimal threat to SA but we are monitoring the situation and by Tuesday night Storm Report SA will be able to forecast possible impacts should there be anything.
Source: Storm Report SA and The Citizen