Ricochet News

Tropical Cyclone Dineo now over southern Mozambique - won't affect Eastern Cape

Feb 16, 2017
Tropical Cyclone Dineo now over southern Mozambique - won't affect Eastern Cape

While reiterating that Tropical Cyclone Dineo will not affect the Eastern Cape, the South Africa Weather Services on Thursday said that the cyclone was now over Southern Mozambique. 

Tropical cyclone Dineo made landfall near Inhambane, southern Mozambique between 8pm and midnight on Wednesday.

"Strong winds, exceeding 100km/hr as well as torrential rainfall and very rough seas were most likely the main weather-related impacts," said Kevin Rae, Chief Forecaster at the SA Weather Services.

He said that while no direct measurements of rainfall are available in the immediate area of landfall, given the extreme nature of the weather, satellite-derived estimates of overnight rainfall strongly suggest that at least 100 to 200mm of rain (or even more) occurred overnight, along the coast and adjacent interior, between Inharrime in the south and Vilanculos in the north.

"Confidence in the aforementioned rainfall estimate is further supported by overnight rainfall measurements at Vilanculos (110mm) as well as Maputo (33mm).

"By 8am this morning (refer image), ex-Dineo has moved progressively inland, and now classified as a tropical depression. Note that the name convention “ex-Dineo” denotes that the formerly marine storm system is now located over land. The central core of the system is close to Chigubo and the Banhine National Park in southern Mozambique at the current time, although the vortex of ex-Dineo is becoming more indistinct as the system weakens. Notwithstanding this weakening trend, the system will still pose a great risk for the next 36 to 48 hours, particularly in terms of further exceptionally heavy rainfall and resultant flooding."

While the greatest threat today will no doubt be over the entire southern Mozambican region, from Beira southwards, there is also an increasing risk of heavy showers and thunderstorms over the lowveld and escarpment regions of Mpumalanga and Limpopo today, especially towards evening and overnight, when very heavy rain, of the order of 100 to 200mm can be expected over the eastern half of Limpopo province, continuing into tomorrow, Friday, 17 February. In the latter half of Friday, patches of heavy rain may also occur over the western parts of Limpopo province as well as northern Botswana, as the remnants of the low track progressively further westwards over the African subcontinent. By Saturday, patches of heavy rain occurrence could even persist over the northern parts of Namibia and Botswana respectively.

Naturally, the low-lying, predominantly flat terrain of southern Mozambique will exacerbate the risk of widespread flooding. This risk will be particularly severe along the banks of the lower Limpopo river and Olifants river systems, as they flow through southern Mozambique, towards the floodplain region adjoining Xai-Xai in the south of Mozambique.  

As the major risk associated with the storm will now be flooding, the following safety tips need to be adhered to during flooding:

  • Do not try and cross flooded rivers or lakes.
  • About 66 % of flood deaths occur in vehicles, and most happen when drivers make a single, fatal mistake trying to navigate through flood waters. Even 4x4 vehicles are not safe under these conditions.
  • Do not drink floodwater since it may be polluted.
  • Stay away from collapsed power lines and cables after a flood as live electricity could still pass through them.
  • Turn off the electricity during a flood, because water is a good conductor of electricity and could cause electrocution.
  • Store away clean drinking water and food.
  • Listen to weather reports and instructions of local disaster managers. If necessary, evacuate the area.

AFTER A FLOOD

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required. Furthermore, the public is urged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information can also be found at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServicor facebook.

Image: An infra-red satellite image of ex-Dineo (now overland) in southern Mozambique, as at 08h15 SA local time this morning. © Eumetsat 2017.