Mozambicans cross the flooded highway to Xhai Xhai from Maputo 22 February 2000 following Cyclone Eline, which was moving toward Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and other regional countries are on high alert for a tropical cyclone building up in the Mozambican Channel which is expected to cause flooding in parts of the country. Characterised by heavy rains and strong winds, the cyclone is forecast to affect areas in Masvingo, Matabeleland South and southern parts of Manicaland Province. Its impact will start being felt from Thursday up to next Monday when it is expected to recede.
The Meteorological Services Department has issued a high alert warning for torrential rains, saying they are monitoring developments in the Mozambican Channel to assess the extent of risk.
“The Meteorological Services Department wishes to issue a high alert for tropical cyclone-type rainfall that is forecast from Thursday 16 to Monday 20 February 2017,” reads an alert.
“The areas likely to be impacted most are Masvingo and Matabeleland South provinces as well as the southern areas of Manicaland Province.” The intensity of rains is expected to peak on Saturday, February 18.
Cyclones are usually associated with strong and damaging rains that lead to extreme flooding. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA’s Hurricane website, the tropical low temperature building in the Mozambican Channel has potential to reach cyclone strength within the next 24 hours.
The channel lies between Mozambique on mainland Africa and the island of Madagascar. Its centre was located 505 nautical miles north west of Maputo. In 2000, Cyclone Eline killed about 140 people, while Cyclone Japhet hit the country two years later destroying bridges and infrastructure leading to the death of seven people.
“The centre of circulation appears to be consolidating quickly over the warm waters of the channel. There are also strong bands of thunderstorms wrapping into the centre of circulation,” reads a report from NASA.
Meanwhile, a weather report issued by the department forecasts warm, humid and rainy conditions with isolated thunderstorms for Mashonaland provinces, Harare Metropolitan province, northern Midlands and northern parts of Matabeleland North province.
The rest of the country is expected to be partly cloudy and hot.