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Tropical storm Freddy on the rebound

by Staff reporter
09 Mar 2023 at 05:20hrs | Views
Tropical storm Freddy, the longest-lived tropical cyclone on record which hit Madagascar, southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the third and fourth weeks of last month before returning to sea, is far from dead.

The destructive storm has been rebuilding strength near the southwest coast of Madagascar and is projected to head towards northern Mozambique around Saturday.

While the storm in its present position has been keeping skies clear in much of Southern Africa, the building up of its strength while parked over the Mozambique Channel is now starting to bring stormy weather to Southern Africa, with storms likely in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe from tonight and Mashonaland provinces into the weekend.

The growing spinning cloud bands will be the main cause of this stormy and rainy weather.

In a joint statement, the Meteorological Services Department and Department of Civil Protection have warned that there will be isolated thunderstorms over the Eastern Highlands from this evening spreading to the Mashonaland provinces into the weekend.

These storm may be coupled with moderate to strong winds, flash flooding in areas with saturated soils, wetlands and impervious grounds and along river basins.

"Tropical Storm Freddy is currently in a quasi-stationary position near the southwest coast of Madagascar. In this position it dries out much of the SADC region. It is projected to move north-west towards the northern parts of Mozambique within the next four to five days.

"However, this speed may vary, thus the Meteorological Services Department will continue monitoring and advise the nation on this and possible impacts," read the statement.

The forecast said that while Tropical Storm Freddy in its present position causes mostly clear skies over much of Zimbabwe, this was likely to change towards the weekend especially in the eastern and northern parts of the country as Freddy's spinning cloud bands, a circle of more than 300km radius, should cause moderate winds, less than 20km/h, increased cloudiness and generally light rains below 65mm from tomorrow till Tuesday next week in the east and north of Zimbabwe. Tropical Storm Freddy has killed one person, damaged houses and some sugarcane fields in Zimbabwe in the last week of last month.

Freddy arrived in the Mozambique Channel on February 22 after passing over Madagascar, and remained in the channel for two days, before making landfall on the Mozambique coast around Maxixe, about 400km from the south eastern border of Zimbabwe, before moving inland.

While it lost strength quickly over dry land it still brought a lot of rain to parts of Zimbabwe and storm winds caused some damage, as well us killing a person when the tree he was sheltering underneath was uprooted and fell on him.

People are urged to stay indoors during thunderstorms unless it is an emergency with caution on the roads is needed as visibility may be affected.

The Department of Civil Protection Committee has activated its systems in preparation for any eventualities in the wake of the revitalised tropical storm.

Freddy has been breaking records for endurance since it originated as a tropical low at the end of January in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia before building up in the first week of February as a cyclone in the Australia region.

It then started its long journey right across the Indian Ocean skirting Mauritius and Reunion in the third week of February before hitting southern Madagascar at the start of the fourth week, then moving into the Mozambique Channel for the first time and as it moved slowly across the sea built up its power again before reaching southern Mozambique and southeast Zimbabwe, losing its power although the wide disc of rotational winds brought rain across large areas of Zimbabwe, and then going back out to sea to rebuild its strength.

Source - The Herald
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