Madagascar + 4 more

Southern Africa – Tropical Storm Eloise Flash Update No.3, As of 20 January 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

• In Madagascar, more than 1,000 people have been directly affected, at least one died, and more than 50 houses were destroyed, as Tropical Storm Eloise passed through Antalaha, Maroantsetra, Vavatenina and Toamasina districts.

• The storm has since crossed over northern Madagascar and is re-entering the Mozambique Channel, where it is expected to re-intensify significantly.

• Recent forecasts indicate a change in trajectory, with potential landfall in Mozambique —tentatively on 23 January— further north than previously predicted, and a high possibility of Eloise strengthening into a tropical cyclone.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

In Madagascar, heavy rains, strong winds and flooding have been reported in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eloise in Antalaha, Maroantsetra, Vavatenina and Toamasina districts in the north-east of the country. At least one person died and more than 1,000 people have been affected in these four districts, according to preliminary data from the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC). More than 500 people are displaced in three different communes of Maroantsetra. Most displaced people are seeking shelter with family members, while at least 270 are hosted in temporary accommodation sites. The storm flooded 134 houses and destroyed 56, while nearly 100 classrooms were impacted, including 87 that were damaged and 11 destroyed, according to BNGRC. Eloise could still bring floods and landslides to Sava and Analanjirofo regions, and the districts of Befandriana Avaratra and Mandritsara, according to BNGRC.

As it re-enters the Mozambique Channel, Eloise is expected to gain considerable strength, including due to warm water temperatures and light wind shear, according to media reports. Several weather forecasts indicate that Eloise could become a tropical cyclone as it moves towards Mozambique, including according to MeteoFrance, Mozambique National Meteorology Institute (INAM) and South African Weather Services (SAWS). Although the exact trajectory remains uncertain, INAM predicts that Tropical Cyclone Eloise will make landfall on the evening of 23 January in Inhambane Province, with destructive wind speeds between 150km/h and 170 km/h. Storm surge and torrential rains are also expected. The cyclone will likely impact not only Inhambane but also Gaza, Maputo and Sofala provinces, in southern and central Mozambique.

The cyclone will likely bring heavy downpours and flooding to regions of Mozambique that have already experienced significant rainfall in recent days. The provinces of Inhambane, Manica, Niassa, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia have received between 200mm and 300mm of rains since 9 January, according to INAM, and are predicted to receive heavy rains in the days ahead. The Inhanombe and Mutamba basins in southern Mozambique are both at alert levels—in addition to the Buzi and Pungoe basins in central Mozambique—according to the latest update from National Directorate of Water Resource Management (DNGRH), released on 20 January.

After landfall, Eloise is expected to lose strength as it crosses land but bring “extreme rainfall” to eastern South Africa, particularly Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, according to SWAS. Depending on its trajectory and intensity, the weather system could also affect Eswatini and south-eastern Zimbabwe

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