The tropical depression, identified as Chalane when it hits tropical storm status, passed over Madagascar over the weekend, bringing heavy rain as expected to the north and centre of the island and although losing power, is now entering the Mozambique Channel where it can pick up energy before probably reaching Beira late on Wednesday night although rainfall from the advance cloud bands could start falling tomorrow.
However, wind speeds are expected to be well under half those from Cyclone Idai last year, so the energy and force of the winds will be less than a quarter, while rainfall is likely to be about half that from Idai.
With so much less energy, it is likely to dissipate quicker as it passes over rugged terrain.
Initial reports said that 26 deaths were reported in Madagascar, with 18 in a single incident when a group tried to cross a flooded river
In an update yesterday, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) said Chalane’s interactions with land would depreciate its effects, “it is set to emerge over water in the Mozambique Channel where a generally westward direction, towards the coast of Mozambique, is highly probable due to the steering winds”.
“Within the channel, it should re-intensify to peak spinning winds of 75km/h (which is less than half the wind spin-speed of Tropical Cyclone Idai at 175km/h) before it makes final landfall near Beira, Mozambique on Wednesday 30 December at 22:00hrs, where interaction with the rugged terrain will steadily weaken the system and lead to dissipation.
“Due to the nature of cloud bands, the effects may be felt as early as late Tuesday night, 29 December, with rainfall amounts of +100 mm over 24 hours, less than half of Tropical Cyclone Idai which ranged above 200 mm in 24 hours over Chimanimani and surrounding areas,” said the MSD.
MSD will give the next update today at midday.
Last Thursday, President Mnangagwa said systems had been activated to ensure those on low-lying ground were moved to high ground before Chalane reaches Zimbabwe.
The Department of Civil Protection has since activated its systems ready for the tropical depression.
A “a priority plan” has been agreed on, and a process to identify institutions that would be used to house any people displaced by the tropical depression or requiring emergency shelter, started last week.