The strongest tropical cyclone in at least a decade is expected to make landfall in Mozambique at the end of the week, bringing devastating winds and floods to the central coastline.
The storm, named Idai, has already strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 3 storm, the third-most severe level with maximum sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour.
It’s expected to make landfall north of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, by Friday morning.
If that happens, it would be the most severe tropical cyclone to strike Mozambique since Jokwe in 2008, a Category 3 cyclone that killed 13 people and displaced thousands more.
The cyclone may strengthen to a Category 4 or even 5 level, which is the most severe. A Category 4 storm occurring so far south would be unusual, said Fitchett, who’s studied tropical cyclone trends in the southern Indian Ocean.
Idai’s winds can cause “devastating damage” and potable water and electricity may not be available for days or weeks in the affected areas,
The storm system that became Idai moved over central Mozambique and neighboring Malawi last week, leaving more than two dozen people dead, before it moved back out to sea. Warm waters caused it to strengthen rapidly, before it started moving back toward Mozambique’s coastline
While AccuWeather meteorologists are warning of a devastating landfall, there is one scenario where the center of Idai may stop short of reaching the coastline. However, destructive winds can still affect the coast and storm-surge flooding may still occur if this solution pans out. Inland locations would be spared the worst of Idai’s impacts in this scenario.
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