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Tropical Cyclone Hits Mozambique Channel

madagascar chalane
Chalane over Madagascar (EUMETSAT)

Published Dec 28, 2020 2:56 PM by Brian Gicheru Kinyua

Following Tropical Cyclone Chalane's landfall in Madagascar on Saturday, this morning it entered the Mozambique Channel, confirming earlier projections by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) operated by the U.S. Navy. There was speculation that while crossing Madagascar, the cyclone could weaken, but it showed no signs of dissipating.

On entering the Mozambique Channel, the cyclone had been downgraded to a depression, but open waters will allow it intensify as it approaches Mozambique’s coast. According to JTWC, the cyclone this morning was generating winds of 35 knots (65 Km/hr.).

Shipping activities are likely to be affected in the Mozambique Channel when the tropical cyclone hits France's Europa Island on Tuesday before heading to Beira, Mozambique.

During a press briefing on Sunday at the Maputo headquarters of the National Operational Emergency Committee, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi warned that four million people could be affected by the cyclone in the central provinces. This was the same region affected by intense Tropical Cyclone Idai back in March 2019. Further, the Mozambican National Meteorology Institute (INAM) has warned of heavy rains (100 millimeters in 24 hours) in Beira and all southern parts of Sofala province. 

Zimbabwe and Malawi are also on high alert as the cyclone is projected to hit the countries. Malawi’s Department of Climate Change and meteorological services released a statement last week that predicted strong winds and heavy rain, which could cause flooding.

Initial reports in Madagascar indicate that 26 people are feared dead, 18 of whom died in a single incident when they tried to cross a flooded river.