Zimbabwe

Eloise strengthens to severe tropical storm, brings heavy rains

Elita Chikwati

Senior Reporter

The tropical system Eloise, which strengthened to a severe tropical storm yesterday, is expected to make landfall in Beira today and while it weakens, moves west into Zimbabwe at the southern end of the Eastern Highlands, bringing heavy rains above 50mm to southern Manicaland, Masvingo and parts of Matabeleland South, the Meteorological Services Department has said.

The rainfall will be similar or below that from the recent tropical system Chalane.

Today, the weather is expected to be mostly be cloudy with thunderstorms and intermittent rain over southern areas of Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, and southern Midlands as Eloise enters the country with some localised heavy downpours in excess of 100mm in 24 hours highly probable.

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According to the Met Department weather update, these storms may be accompanied by high winds and lightning.

“Moisture content in the atmosphere is set to increase given the proximity and trajectory of tropical storm Eloise, currently in the warmer waters of the Mozambique Channel; and sharp changes are expected in the morning where it is projected to reach inland, read the report.

Met Department senior meteorologist, Mr James Ngoma said the department had been tracking the movement of the tropical system from the time it was a tropical depression to the north east of Madagascar and the time it made landfall over Madagascar, depositing about 100mm of rain in a space of 24 hours over Madagascar.

“It has now moved to Mozambican channel and strengthened from a moderate tropical storm to a severe tropical storm still over Mozambican channel waters,” he said.

He said the storm was projected to be heading southwest and expected to reach the coast near Beira today.

“We still advise the public to be cautious of heavy downpours. There is a potential of strong winds during this period. Trees may also fall and where possible people should stay indoors,” he said.

The Civil Protection Unit has reiterated that its structures that were activated in December in anticipation of tropical storm Chalane remain active to handle rain-related disasters.

The threats posed by Chalane saw the Government disbursing $100 million to the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) to respond to any rain-related disasters. The structures remain active to respond to any eventualities while members of the public have been urged to exercise caution during the rainy season.

At this stage in the season, Zimbabwe has been enjoying above normal rains with most areas already recording more than 300mm and most farmers generally pleased with the potential of a very good season and recharging of water sources after two years of drought.

According to the mid-season rainfall analysis there was more rainfall from October 1 to December 31, 2020 than in the same three months in 2019. As in all above normal seasons, heavy storms are frequent.

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