Mozambique: Caution over fresh cyclone alert

News and Press Release
Originally published
JOHANNESBURG, 2 March (IRIN) - Reports of a fresh cyclone over Madagascar threatening to bring more devastation to flood-stricken Mozambique next week should be treated with caution as its path is difficult to predict, weather forecasters told IRIN on Thursday.
Cyclone Gloria, currently lashing northern Madagascar with strong winds and heavy rain, is heading southwest into the Mozambican Channel. But whether it will continue on its path and hit Mozambique is "not yet clear", an agro-meteorologist at the Southern Africa Regional Early Warning Unit told IRIN. "Ninety-five percent of the time the cyclones curve back into the Indian Ocean."

The exceptions have been the tropical storm in early February that went on into Mozambique causing the first wave of flooding, followed by cyclone Eline that brought more devastation a week later. Eline carried on through southern Africa as a tropical depression further deluging neighbouring countries that had already felt the disastrous impact of the first storm.

"The sea surface temperature in the Mozambique Channel is quite warm, and it seems these storms are being rejuvenated in the Channel and gain more power, and instead of curving away they go on to hit Mozambique," the Harare-based meteorologist said.

Cyclones are part of the region's climate system. From November to March they are active over Madagascar and Mauritius. Normally, they move from the middle of the Indian Ocean westwards into the Mozambican Channel before
turning south-eastwards towards northern Madagascar. But last month, "two came one after the other and moved inland which is unusual," the meteorologist said.

Media reports said on Thursday that Gloria could weaken into a tropical depression by Monday next week, and reach Mozambique on Wednesday, bringing more rain to the southern areas of the country.


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