Another potentially destructive cyclone heads for Mozambique

Another strong tropical cyclone is heading for the south-east coast of Africa and it is expected to make landfall near Mienguleia in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique on Thursday, April 25, 2019. The cyclone would be accompanied by torrential rain.

According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a cyclone dubbed Severe Tropical Storm Kenneth which has already formed in the Indian Ocean is making its way towards northern Mozambique.

Cyclone Kenneth comes barely a month after tropical cyclone Idai stormed through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing about 700 people in the three southern African countries, with Mozambique the hardest hit.

In March, the winds which cut off more than 500,000 residents in the port city of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth largest city, was up to 177km/h. However, the wind speed forecast to hit the country on Thursday is estimated to be roughly 200km/h (124 mph) and “it could be devastating”, stated South African Weather Service forecaster Mbavhi Maliage who noted that the storm is getting very strong and would likely become stronger.

The BBC noted that cyclone Kenneth could be the strongest cyclone ever recorded to make landfall in southern Africa.

Presently, the rainfall from the storm system is difficult to estimate and Maliage said, “They are expecting it to be a tropical cyclone overnight into tomorrow morning”. Cyclones are graded according to wind speed. A very intense tropical cyclone has a wind speed of more than 213km/h while a tropical depression has a wind speed between 51km/h to 63km/h.

After Cyclone Idai wreaked havoc while storming through the countries, three Southern African countries became in need of a humanitarian support, with hundreds of thousands of people needing food, water and shelter. The United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA noted that about 1.85 million people were affected by Cyclone Idai and its aftermath in Mozambique alone and another potentially destructive tropical storm would wreak more havoc.

Cyclones are typical for Mozambique at this time of the year and Kenneth is the latest in a range of storms in the 2018/2019 season that included Idai, Dineo, Desmond and Eketsang. However, there are concerns that the weather patterns have been increasing in intensity.