By Duncan Mlanjira
The Department of Climate Change and Meteological Services has said the incessant rains and that hit southern Malawi last week is expected to return Thursday (March 14) following a Cyclone IDAI that is happening in the Mozambique Channel.
A statement from the Department, which is under Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, is asking Malawians that to secure property and lives, the public should therefore take precautionary measures such as
- Moving to higher grounds when water levels have started rising
- Avoiding crossing flooding rivers
- and not seeking shelter under trees and weak infrastructure.
“The public is advised to continue following weather updates issued from time to time by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services as it continues to monitor weather development over the country to ensure seamless use of weather information on all times to alert by the public and to be kept safe from any weather related threats.”
The statement says a deep and wide low pressure system in the Mozambique Channel developed into a Tropical Cyclone now named IDAI on March 11, at a distance of 900kms from southern Malawi border in Nsanje at a position 17.4 south and 43.2 East approximately west-north of Madagascar, with a south-westward movement towards Beira in Mozambique.
“Tropical Cyclone IDAI is expected to make a landfall over Beira in Mozambique which is 480kms to Nsanje Boma by Thursday 14 March, while dumping heavy rains overland in Mozambique including southern Malawi.
“The anticipated heavy rains and strong winds are expected to start from Thursday to Sunday (17th March) mainly over southern areas of Malawi which are at a risk for locally damaging winds, flooding and significant travel disruptions as the Tropical Cyclone makes its way to Zimbabwe where it is expected to weaken and die on 18th March.
“A tropical cyclone in Indian Ocean, also called typhoon in Pacific Ocean or hurricane in Atlantic Ocean, is an intense circular storm that originates over warm tropical oceans and is characterized by low atsmopheric pressure, high winds and heavy rain.
“The main effects of tropical cyclones include heavy rains, strong wind, large storm surges at landfall and tonardoes,” says the statement made available by Jolamu Nkhokwe, who is the director of climate change and meteological services.
According to recent report from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA), the death toll from the floods and heavy rains has risen to 45 and over 577 injured and over 90,000 households affected.