The nation of Mozambique is bracing for the arrival of Cyclone Idai, the most powerful storm seen over the region since a decade. The storm is expected to make landfall early Friday i.e. March 15, in areas just north of the coastal city of Beira, already flooded from recent heavy rains.
Idai underwent rapid intensification during the last 24 hours, and became equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. It moved westwards with a speed of about 10 kmph accompanied with strong winds of 200 kmph gusting up to 240 kmph.
Currently, Idai is retaining its strength and is travelling as a Cat 3 hurricane. It is centered at 19.7˚s latitude and 37.9˚E longitude, which is about 200 km northwest of Europa Island.
The two main factors that are helping in retaining the cyclone’s strength are - that Idai is in favorable waters with sea surface temperatures of about 28˚C to 29˚C. Along with this, it has weak vertical wind shear.
Idai is expected to weaken after making landfall but is still expected to result in significant torrential rainfall and widespread flooding over the Sofala and Manica provinces of Mozambique.
The torrential rainfall will also impact the eastern parts of Zimbabwe and the southern parts of Malawi which have been already hit by severe floodings over the past week.
Mzansi will have its own, unrelated weather challenges such as possible heavy rains and localized flash flooding in some parts of the country.
As per reports by official, the death toll following more than a week of heavy rains and flooding in Malawi has risen to 56. The floods in southern Malawi have also left more than 83,000 people displaced, as rivers broke their banks, disrupting power and water supply, and rendering homes uninhabitable.
Image Credit: cimms
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