Madagascar + 3 more

Southern Africa, Flash Update No.3: Tropical Storm Chalane (as of 28 December 2020)

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HIGHLIGHTS

• Tropical Storm Chalane made landfall in Madagascar on 27 December, bringing heavy wind and rains, but limited damage, according to preliminary reports.

• Chalane weakened to a Tropical Depression as it crossed Madagascar and left from its western coast in the morning of 28 December. It is now in the Mozambique Channel.

• Predictions indicate that Chalane could strengthen before it makes landfall in Mozambique.

• The weather system could subsequently move towards Zimbabwe and Botswana.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Tropical Storm Chalane, which formed last week in the Indian Ocean, made landfall in Fenoarivo Atsinanana (Fénérive Est in French) District, Madagascar, on 27 December with maximum wind gusts of between 40 and 50 km/h. Chalane weakened to a Tropical Depression after landfall and continued south-west over the country with a decreased wind speed of 20 km/h and heavy rains.

According to preliminary reports, the storm caused some isolated flooding and damage to electricity poles, but no significant damage. As of 28 December, Chalane has left the island nation from the west coast, near Morondava District. Heavy rains are expected to continue in Madagascar during the day.

Although weakening as it crossed Madagascar, Chalane is expected to pick up speed as it moves over the Mozambique Channel. Some predictions, including the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, indicate that it could become a Tropical Cyclone with a speed of 120 km/h, while others indicate that it is likely to remain a Tropical Storm.

The storm is projected to impact central Mozambique on 30 December, according to Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). It is projected to make landfall in the province of Sofala—which was struck by Cyclone Idai nearly two years ago—between the districts of Muanza and Machanga, and could bring heavy rains across the provinces of Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Inhambane. Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi warned on 27 December, in a post on Facebook, that the tropical storm could affect four million Mozambicans in the central provinces as the warmth of the surface waters in the Mozambique Channel is predicted to strengthen the storm. He urged people living in at-risk areas to evacuate, since the storm is likely to bring floods.

After making landfall in Mozambique, the storm could proceed towards Zimbabwe and subsequently Botswana. In Zimbabwe, Chimanimani and Chipinge districts—which were hardest-hit by Cyclone Idai—remain most at-risk according to current predictions. Malawi is no longer projected to be directly impacted, due to the southwards change in the storm’s predicted trajectory.

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