Panafrican News Agency

Government issues warning over the impending Cyclone Kenneth

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - The Zimbabwean government has warned citizens near flood prone areas to be on high alert and take precautionary measures against the category 3/4 Cyclone Kenneth tropical storm, expected in the region over the next few hours. Cyclone Kenneth is a tropical storm that was first spotted off the coast of Mozambique late Tuesday in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans which has drastically picked up pace. According to AccuWeather, an American media company that provides commercial weather forecasting services worldwide, Cyclone Kenneth has already brought heavy rainfall to parts of Madagascar and the Comoros Islands reportedly killing three on Wednesday. The Department of Civil Protection wants to warn the nation that another cyclone, Cyclone Kenneth, is projected to hit Mozambique, Malawi and some parts of Zimbabwe. All people living in flood prone areas are advised to be on high alert and take precautionary measures to save lives, the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services tweeted. In the warning from the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), a government agency tasked with protecting lives, property and preserving the environment, it said it was important to draw huge lessons from Cyclone Idai. Cyclone Idai left 344 confirmed dead and many more injured with heavy winds and rainfall that destroyed houses, roads, bridges, cars, and other property in Zimbabwe. Most of the damage was recorded in the eastern Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe, between March 14 to 17 last month. Drawing huge lessons and experiences from the unprecedented destructive behavior of the recent Cyclone Idai, all our people mostly those living in the flood prone areas of Mbire, Muzarabani, Mt Darwin, Nyanga, low lying areas of Masvingo Province, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutoko, Mudzi, Gokwe North are advised to be on high alert, CPU director Nathan Nkomo said. The department of Civil Protection together with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) will be closely monitoring the situation at an interval of every three hours considering that we are likely to receive some heavy downpours. The CPU warned that given the potential effects of Cyclone Kenneth all provincial and district administrators, chief executives, officers, town clerks and traditional leadership should prepare their communities for the storm. However, in a another statement, the MSD said Cyclone Kenneth would impact mostly northern Mozambique and Malawi as well as southern Tanzania in the next few hours through to Saturday. MSD, however, added that Zimbabwe would not be affected. No rain is projected for Zimbabwe during this period till Saturday 27 April. It's mostly sunny and warm conditions that are anticipated as we enter the weekend. The Department will continue monitoring the conditions and update the nation accordingly, the MSD statement read. MSD added that Cyclone Kenneth would have wind speeds of 200km/hr and come with heavy rains. According to AccuWeather, Cyclone Kenneth will be the first tropical cyclone with the equivalent of hurricane strength to strike Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado since modern record-keeping. Kenneth has undergone rapid strengthening and is now an intense tropical cyclone with its strength equal to a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans. The dangerous cyclone remains on track to slam into Cabo Delgado between Palma and Pemba on Thursday evening, local time. The coastal communities of Lucete, Pangane and Mucojo are at risk for a life-threatening direct hit, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Eric Leister said. Kenneth will remain an intense tropical cyclone with its intensity equal to a Category 4 or a strong Category 3 hurricane through landfall. Areas near and just inland of this landfall location will be at risk for destructive winds, flooding rainfall and mudslides. The latter two dangers will persist well after the cyclone moves onshore. AccuWeather reports that Cyclone Kenneth will have a storm surge of two to four meters which combined with tides and rough surf could lead to life-threatening flooding. At least 700,000 people are at risk within the region of Cabo Delgado if this storm makes landfall as forecasted, CARE Mozambique's country director Marc Nosbach said. Aside from storm damage, the greatest risk will immediately be from flooding due to heavy rains. Rivers within this region of Mozambique may flood, especially as at least one of the dams is already close to full capacity, preventing flood water from being retained. This will make it almost impossible to distribute aid as roads will become impassable, he explained. -0- PANA TZ/VAO 25April2019