Tropical cyclone Japhet approaches Mozambique

Originally published

Release Date: 28 February 2003: 0000 GMT

  • Torrential rains, thunderstorms on southern coast of Mozambique.

  • Possibility of localized flooding in southern Mozambique over next 48 hours.

Latest satellite pictures and rainfall models indicate that the southern Mozambique coast will shortly start experiencing torrential rains as Tropical Cyclone Japhet approaches land. Tropical Cyclone Japhet is moving at 14 km/hr in a southwesterly direction (see figure below). Maximum winds estimated at 110 to 140 km/hr can be found within a radius of 75 km of the cyclone centre. Such strong winds can be accompanied by widespread damage (Ref. Beaufort Scale).

Inhambane and Gaza provinces in Mozambique are in the forecast path of the cyclone. For the current rainfall season, southern Mozambique has generally been drier than average. Soil moisture and river levels are therefore not critically high. This notwithstanding, a possibility for localized flooding exists over the next 48 hours. Areas in the lower Save River could also experience flooding, particularly close to the town of Machanga, this due to the fact that the Save River is approaching normal flows for this time of the year and if even half of the rainfall forecast materializes the river may reach flood stages. However, the actual event of flooding will depend on the river and surrounding terrain topography.

Tropical Cyclone Japhet's weather system is linked to the area of high rainfall activity in southern Zambia, northern Zimbabwe, southern Malawi and central Mozambique. The Zambezi river basin is consequently expected to receive significant rainfall. Already, there are confirmed reports of flooding in northern Zimbabwe.

Forecasts suggest that Japhet will dissipate as a significant tropical storm over land in southern Mozambique by the 3rd of March 2003.

The significant Weather Developments Bulletin is intended to provide timely highlights of developing weather patterns that might pose a threat to human lives and property. While efforts have been made to ensure accuracy of this report, country specific requirements should be addressed to the National Meteorological Services. The RRSU and FEWSNET produce a Situational Regional Floodwatch during the rainy season.

Acknowledgements: The information in this bulletin is derived from an analysis of issuances by the JTWC, La Reunion Tropical Cyclone Centre, and SADC DMC. An analysis of Meteosat satellite imagery, NOAA satellite-derived rainfall estimates, AFWA rainfall forecast models, USGS/FEWS NET water balance and hydrological streamflow models, ground reports, and any other available information is incorporated to estimate ground impacts. USGS/FEWS NET also provides direct input.

The SADC Remote Sensing Unit, P.O. Box 4046, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Fax: 263-4-795283