Cyclone Freddy anticipated to move into southern Malawi with damaging winds, torrential rain and flooding
The Department of Climate Change & Meteorological Services warns that Freddy has further intensified into Tropical Cyclone stage and has maintained north-westerly trajectory, moving at a speed of 7km/h drifting away from the coast of Madagascar and heading towards the Mozambique coast with an estimated maximum wind speed of about 157km/h.
In its update released today (Tuesday, March 7) at 18:00hrs, the Met Department says: “According to weather models, chances are very high that Freddy will make a second landfall over Mozambique coast between Beira and Nampula, possibly by Friday.
“Thereafter, likelihood is also high that the cyclone will continue moving to Southern Malawi by Saturday into Sunday. The forecasted path of the Cyclone in Malawi include: Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Zomba, Blantyre, Neno, Mwanza, Nsanje and Chikwawa.
“Damaging winds, torrential rain and flooding are all possible risks in the highlighted areas from Friday.”
On advisories, the Department says:
* Malawians in potential impact areas are reminded to inspect the strength of buildings and structures, and make reinforcement if necessary;
* If the houses and buildings are not strong enough, make evacuation plans;
* Unblocking waterways and drainages are paramount;
* Flood prone and low-lying areas in Southern Malawi to be on high alert for possible flooding;
* If flooding occurs in your area, move to higher ground immediately and follow evacuation orders when issued;
* Stay away from rivers and streams as may rise rapidly and become dangerous during heavy rains; and
* Avoid travelling during stormy weather, if possible, as driving in strong winds can be dangerous.
The statement further says “Lakeshore and some northern and central areas are advised to be on alert for flash flooding as locally heavy rains persist in these areas”.
However, the Department assures the public that it will continue to monitor the movement and strength of Cyclone Freddy and that “any possible changes on its impacts on Malawi weather will be communicated to the nation accordingly”.
Freddy continues to defy predictions as just on Monday evening, the Met Department reported the severe tropical storm did not then pose a direct threat to Malawi but it is indirectly inducing influx of Congo air mass into the country.
However, the Department said direct effects such as heavy rainfall associated with strong winds over southern Malawi are anticipated from Friday after the cyclone makes landfall over Mozambique coast.
Tropical Cyclone Freddy was initially reported on February 21 by the United Nations (UN) department of safety & security in Zambia, warning that it was to threaten crossing into Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique but it finally made its landfall on February 24 in south of the city of Vilanculos in Mozambique (Inhambane Province).
But Malawi’s Met Department reported that it had no impact on Malawi weather and kept issuing daily updates as the cyclone weakened considerably as it crossed over Madagascar towards the Mozambique Channel up to its landing near Beira on the coast of Mozambique.
But after the lull of two weeks or so, the projections analyzed indicated that Cyclone Freddy maintained a very high chance that it will return and make a second landfall over Mozambique by Friday — whose exact landing position is not certain but is likely to be between Beira and Nampula while, after the landfall, “there is also a chance of the cyclone to move to southern Malawi”.
For further information, the public is advised to contact:
The Director; Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services; P.O. Box 1808; Blantyre
Tel:( 265) 882 266 579
Email: [email protected]
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