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Cyclone Chalane heading for Chimanimani!

There are predictions of Cyclone Chalane hitting Beira on the 30th of December and Eastern Zimbabwe, with Chimanimani in its path on 31 December, Zanu PF MP Joshua Sacco has warned.

“We pray that this cylone loses its velocity before it hits Beira and Zimbabwe. Mwari pindiriai,” he wrote on his social media page.

According to accuweather.com – an international organisation that monitors weather patterns around the world – as activity in the South Pacific Ocean and West Pacific Ocean basins continue to heat up, the Indian Ocean basin refuses to be left behind. The necessary atmospheric ingredients will likely come together late this week to allow a tropical system to form in the southwestern Indian Ocean.

“A tropical low located well southwest of Diego Garcia will continue to strengthen as it drifts westward over the next few days,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

As this tropical low slowly drifts westward, it will enter an area of atmospheric conditions that will likely allow for further strengthening.

To strengthen, tropical systems need at least two main atmospheric ingredients — warm waters and a lack of vertical wind shear.

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Vertical wind shear, which is the change in direction and speed of winds at increasing heights in the atmosphere, is forecast to remain low across the southwestern Indian Ocean throughout the week.

“Warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions are expected to allow this low to strengthen into Tropical Storm Chalane this week,” Nicholls explained.

As the storm strengthens, it will continue to track slowly westward into the weekend.

The tropical low likely to be named Chalane can strengthen enough to achieve moderate or severe tropical-storm status, as designated by Météo France’s La Réunion, later this week, Nicholls noted.

As the storm approaches northern Madagascar late this week, periods of tropical rainfall, gusty winds and rough seas will begin to increase across the region.

“The storm is expected to strike northeast Madagascar on Saturday and may eventually emerge over the Mozambique Channel early next week, local time,” Nicholls said.

The heaviest rains from the storm will impact much of northern Madagascar from late Friday through Monday. A general 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rainfall is expected to deluge much of northern Madagascar and the country’s eastern coast after the system makes landfall and slowly tracks west.

Rainfall of this magnitude will likely lead to flooding issues for the region and will also increase the threat for mudslides.

Most of the heaviest rainfall from this event is set to occur north of the capital city of Antananarivo, but any brief tropical downpours may lead to flash flooding concerns for the region.

In addition to heavy rain, gusty winds can lead to wind damage and power outages for portions of Madagascar, especially near where the system makes landfall on Saturday.

This potential tropical system will likely be the third named tropical system of the season for the South-West Indian Ocean basin and will likely be the first of the season to make landfall in the basin.

The 2020 South-West Indian Ocean basin cyclone season officially began on 15 Nov. and will end on 30 April 2021. There have been two named tropical systems so far this season: Tropical Cyclone Alicia and Severe Tropical Storm Bongoyo. Alicia churned in the basin from 12 Nov. to 17 Nov. while Bongoyo was in the basin from 30 Nov. to 11 Dec. Both systems remained over the open waters of the Indian Ocean during their respective lifetimes.

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