Low pressure weather system in Mozambique Channel develops into moderate tropical storm name Filipo

The map to the left side depicts areas likely to be impacted while on the right shows the possible path of the tropical storm Filipo from various models

* Southern Region districts that are likely to be moderately affected remain Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Blantyre, Mwanza, Nsanje, and Chikwawa

* On the other hand, areas highlighted in yellow (category 5) are likely to experience lesser impact, such as Neno and Zomba

By Duncan Mlanjira

The low pressure weather system in Mozambique Channel has developed into moderate tropical storm name Filipo and is moving westward towards Mozambique coast at speed of 14km/hr (7knots).


Malawi’s Department of Climate Change & Meteorological Services, which was closely monitoring the weather developments since they occurred last week, says tropical storm Filipo is projected to make landfall near Beira in Mozambique probably tonight into early hours of tomorrow — thereafter taking southward trajectory and eventually returning into Indian Ocean by Thursday March 14.

“As moderate tropical storm Filipo draws near Mozambique coast, it is expected to bring increased cloudiness particularly over southern Malawi with localised rainfall which will be heavy at times potentially leading to sporadic flash floods between Monday to Wednesday March 11-12.

“The districts that are likely to be moderately affected (category 6) remains Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Blantyre, Mwanza, Nsanje, and Chikwawa [as indicated in the image above].

“On the other hand, areas highlighted in yellow (category 5) are likely to experience lesser impact, such as Neno and Zomba.”


Though the threat of Filipo is not high over Malawi, the Met Department says it is still important to for the public to be on alert for possible flooding if they are in flood prone areas and to stay away from rivers and streams as may rise rapidly and become dangerous during heavy rains.

The public is also advised to move to higher ground immediately and follow evacuation orders when signs of flooding are high in their area and as much as possible to avoid travelling during stormy weather as driving in strong winds can be dangerous.

“Stay informed of updates from reliable and official channels. DCCMS will continue to monitor the movement and strength of the moderate tropical storm Filipo.

“Any possible changes on its impacts on Malawi weather will be communicated to the nation accordingly.

Weather update

Malawi was on high alert over the possible tropical storm brewing on the Indian Ocean taking into consideration of what happened in early 2023, when Cyclone Freddy was developing in the Indian Ocean.

It first made a landfall over Mozambique in February before turning back and while being classified as severe tropical storm, the Met Department informed the public then that it did not pose direct threat to Malawi but it was indirectly inducing influx of Congo air mass into the country.

However, the Department had said direct effects — heavy rainfall associated with strong winds — over southern Malawi were anticipated as the cyclone was expected to make its second landfall over Mozambique coast.

Threats of flash flooding were warned as heavy rainfall associated with strong winds were expected — and it came to pass as Cyclone Freddy wreaked havoc in the Southern Region.

Meanwhile, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) also advises the general public to move to safer and higher areas as a matter of urgency and to follow weather updates through various communication channels and platforms.

They are also advised to avoid crossing flooded rivers and walking through running water; stay away from power lines and electrical wires and report about fallen power lines to authorities.

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“Do not attempt to save personal property at the expense of your lives and that of your family. Move and store essential property in safe higher grounds.

 “If you can manage, provide first aid treatment to the injured, those in shock and call for medical help.”

DoDMA further says it is treating the warning with urgency and apart from alerting councils, it has activated all clusters (sector working groups) for swift anticipatory actions.

“DoDMA has also prepositioned search and rescue equipment and has made standby arrangements for the deployment of a search and rescue team!comprising the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), the Malawi Police Service (MPS) the Marine Department and the Malawi Red Cross Society.

“The department is also working with DCCMS in airing early warning messages on radio stations to raise awareness on flooding, strong winds and lightning.

“Councils in disaster-prone areas have been called upon to alert area and village disaster risk management committees to further alert and assist vulnerable communities to move to nearby evacuation centres. 

“Councils are further advised to alert the department at the earliest opportunity in the event that communities are affected by the storm.”