Tropical Cyclone Freddy is still coming to Zimbabwe and the long-lasting weather system has already caused enormous damage in Mozambique.
According to the United Nations weather agency, Cyclone Freddy dumped “dangerous and exceptional rainfall levels” over Mozambique on Friday.
The cyclone made landfall in the coastal town of Vilanculos with wind speeds of 113 kilometers (70 miles), reported VOA News.
It is now classified as an “intense tropical cyclone” after picking up speed over the Mozambique channel.
According to the regional weather centre in Reunion, the cyclone is projected to weaken as it cascades through southern Africa but still poses a serious risk of heavy rainfall to the neighboring nations of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana. The U.N. weather agency:
There is a potential risk that months’ worth of rainfall may fall in the space of a few days, causing widespread flooding in an area that already has saturated soils and high river basin levels from unusually heavy seasonal rains.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) said the cyclone had slightly delayed landfall by 12 hours. It said:
The former Tropical Cyclone Freddy is currently in the Severe tropical storm stage, with a wind speed of rotation of approximately 110km/hr.
It has slightly delayed landfall by 12 hours. This delay will result in the further clearing of the atmosphere over southern Africa and strengthening Freddy’s rotational winds to 120km per hour (65 knots) by the time it makes landfall over southern Mozambique later in the afternoon.
In a few hours, Freddy’s spinning cloud bands (spanning more a +500km radius) would cause strong winds, reduced to less than 40 knots (typical strong winds are usually 20 knots), increased cloudiness and localised heavy rains (above 65mm) from Saturday 25 until Tuesday February 28, 2023 in districts such as Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Chivi, Masvingo Rural, Zaka, Bikita, Gutu and Buhera.
Cyclone Freddy is exceptional because of the long distance it has travelled and its longevity, developing on 6 February off the coast northwest of Australia.
It has affected island nations, including Mauritius and La Réunion, during its long journey across the entire South Indian Ocean.
This rarely-seen track was last recorded in 2000, with tropical cyclones Leon-Eline and Hudah.
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