‘Cyclone Kenneth could be worse than Cyclone Idai’
BBC Weather reports that Cyclone Kenneth could be worse than Cyclone Idai as it is expected to be the strongest cyclone ever recorded to make landfall in this region “since modern record-keeping.”
Cyclone Kenneth is predicted to hit Tanzania and Mozambique bringing winds of up to 200km/h (124 mph) and torrential rain.
In contrast, Cyclone Idai made landfall near the Mozambican port city of Beira on 14 March, packing winds of up to 177 km/h and bringing torrential rain which caused extensive flooding.
Prior to reaching Mozambique, Kenneth killed three people in the island nation of Comoros on Wednesday night.
More than 700 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and at least three million were left in need of humanitarian assistance.
Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe, the authorities have not agreed on the path which will be taken by the cyclone with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) saying that Zimbabwe will not be affected while the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) is arguing that parts of the country will be affected.
Weather forecasters say Cyclone Kenneth will make landfall on Mozambique’s coast on Thursday, bringing heavy rainfall, strong winds and waves of several metres to the southern African nation, which is still reeling from the effects of devastating Cyclone Idai.
“It’s going to make landfall tomorrow afternoon at Cabo Delgado, on the northeastern coast of Mozambique, and it is going to be a cyclone with wind speeds which could be 140 km per hour (87 miles per hour),” said Jan Vermeulen, from the South African Weather Service.
International energy companies such as Exxon Mobil have been developing huge natural gas fields off the coast of northern Mozambique.
A cyclone report issued by a regional cyclone-monitoring centre on the French island of La Reunion said parts of southern Tanzania could also be affected by Cyclone Kenneth.
“The (weather) system will generate a storm surge when landing on the coast of Mozambique, which can reach between 2 and 4 metres in some areas, to which must be added the breaking of waves and heavy rainfall, which can cause flooding in Mozambique,” the report said.
Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management said that about 682,500 people could be at risk from the storm in the northern Cabo Delgado and Niassa provinces. About 112,000 people were in areas where winds could be in excess of 120 km per hour, it said.
Areas near and just inland of this landfall location will be at risk for destructive winds, flooding rainfall and mudslides. The latter two dangers will persist well after the cyclone moves onshore.
A storm surge of 2-4 meters (6.5-13 feet) may occur near and just south of where Kenneth makes landfall. This surge, combined with tides and rough surf, can lead to life-threatening flooding.