Cyclone Idai spares Malawi, to hit Zimbabwe

Tropical Cyclone Idai which made a landfall on Thursday night in Mozambique is moving towards Zimbabwe where it will eventually die down on March 18, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has said.

Initially, the tropical cyclone which originated from Madagascar headed towards the southern part of Malawi raising fears it could bring about heavy rains starting  onThursday night.

Weather experts feared the cyclone which brings heavy rains and high winds could have resulted in more flooding particularly in the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje which are now recovering from last week’s floods.

Last week’s floods claimed 56 lives and damaged houses and crops nationwide.

But giving a weather update in Blantyre yesterday, director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services Jolamu Nkhokwe said the change in direction of the Tropical Cyclone Idai was triggered by low pressure systems from South Africa which made it to slide southwards in place of the original northwards track. 

He said: “The Tropical Cyclone IDAI made landfall over Beira in Mozambique a distance of about 480 kilometers to Nsanje on the night of Thursday 14th March 2019 bringing with it high wind speeds of up to 224 kilometre per hour and rain over Mozambique.”

“The Tropical Cyclone is creating a convergence of air from north-east and air from south-west over the country causing locally heavy rainfall activities over the south and northern areas but isolated rains over central areas of the country due to the sinking air from the Tropical Cyclone, as it weakens but makes its way towards Zimbabwe. 

Nkhokwe said the damaging cyclone is, therefore, expected to weaken and die by March 18 2019 in Zimbabwe.

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