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Zimbabwe braces for heavy rains as tropical cyclone Ana hits Mozambique

ZIMBABWE has been warned to brace for heavy rains starting within the next 24 hours after Tropical Cyclone “Ana” made landfall over Mozambique this Monday.

The tropical cyclone formed on Sunday, January 23, 2022, and hit Mozambique with maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h (53 mph).

The tropical depression which developed in Mozambique yesterday has evolved into a tropical cyclone and is projected to bring localised heavy rains and strong winds to Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces.

The storm has been named by Mozambique, and it is the first named storm of the 2022 Southwest Indian Ocean cyclone season.

In an alert this morning, the Metrological Services Department (MSD) said Tropical Storm Ana was also projected to intensify to a severe tropical storm.

MSD senior forecaster, James Ngoma said the low pressure system in the middle of the Mozambique Channel had been gradually intensifying for the past few hours and has now evolved into a Tropical Storm Ana.

“It is projected to intensify to the minimal stage of a severe tropical storm before it lands on the coast of Mozambique just before mid-day today in the Angoche region of northern Mozambique. When the system lands on Mozambique, the gusts of wind could reach or even locally exceed 120 kilometres per hour near the coast.

“Intense rains are expected in the region north of Beira today and then to southern Malawi on Tuesday.

“Localised downpours and strong winds are probable in the southern districts of Manicaland province today, Monday,” he said.

From Tuesday until Thursday, Ngoma said heavy rains above 50 mm are expected in all Mashonaland provinces and Manicaland; Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutare, Mutasa, Nyanga, Mudzi, UMP, Rushinga, Mt Darwin, Centenary, Mbire, Northern Hurungwe and Kariba districts.

Light rains and moderate to strong winds are expected elsewhere.

“People should watch out for localised heavy rains which may reduce visibility and cause riverine or flash flooding, strong winds which may carry debris, roof sheets or break off tree branches.

“Stay indoors during thunderstorms and heavy rains. Avoid crossing flooded rivers whether on foot or in vehicles. There may be need to move to safer areas if living in prone areas,” said the department,” said the MSD.

The storm made its first landfall between 08:00 UTC and 09:00 UTC on January 22, between Toamasina and Île Sainte-Marie in Madagascar, as a tropical depression.

The cyclone weakened over the mountainous terrain of Madagascar but still managed to preserve its organized convection and low-level center.

At 06:00 UTC on January 23, Meteo France (MFR) re-classified it again as a tropical disturbance after entering the Mozambique Channel.

The National Meteorological Institute (INAM) in Mozambique first sent a notice on 16 January 2022 alerting to the possible formation of a tropical cyclone due to the high temperatures of the surface water in the Southeast Indian Ocean and Mozambican channel with a low-pressure atmosphere.

INAM predicted that after making landfall in Mozambiqu, the cyclone could build up windspeeds similar to that of TC Idai.

As such, the INAM said it is preparing for a worst-case scenario and for possible impact on Sofala, Nampula and the Zambezi escarpment.

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