An image of Tropical Storm Dineo just off the Mozambique coast. Picture: NASA
An image of Tropical Storm Dineo just off the Mozambique coast. Picture: NASA

Lusaka/Johannesburg — Tropical cyclone Dineo pummeled Mozambique’s southern coastline near a resort town late on Wednesday, killing seven people, as it moved west towards SA and Zimbabwe, according to weather forecasters.

It was the first cyclone to make landfall in the southeast African nation in almost a decade, with winds gusting up to 180km/h and rainfall expected to exceed 15cm during the 24 hours it passes over both coastal and inland areas, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organisation said on its website. Dineo reached the coast at about 6:30pm, it said.

After moving onto land, Dineo weakened significantly because it was cut off from the ocean’s heat that it needed to survive, said the South African Weather Service. It is now classified as a tropical depression. As it tracked towards the northeastern parts of SA and Zimbabwe, heavy rains would continue, the agency said. The greatest effect in SA would be overnight on Thursday into Friday morning, with heavy rains over Limpopo, which includes Kruger National Park.

"The system will still pose a great risk for the next 36-48 hours, particularly in terms of further exceptionally heavy rainfall and resultant flooding," the South African Weather Service said on its website. "Very heavy rain, of the order of 10cm-20cm can be expected over the eastern half of Limpopo province, continuing into Friday."

Eye Witness News reported that Dineo had killed seven people, citing the government’s disaster centre. State broadcaster Radio Moçambique reported that four people died and that telephone communications and electricity supplies in Mozambique’s Inhambane and Gaza provinces had been cut. Schools and government offices in both provinces were closed and infrastructure was damaged, it said.

The storm was the ninth tropical cyclone to have struck Mozambique since 1990, said Jeff Masters, co-founder of commercial forecaster Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The most recent was tropical cyclone Jokwe in 2008.


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