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A tropical storm – named Dineo – has swept in from the Indian Ocean, causing extensive flooding as it hit landfall in Mozambique. More damage is threatened as it swings south and west. Tropical storms are classified once clouds have reached an organised cyclonic formation and wind speeds have exceeded 60km/h. The storm can be upgraded to tropical cyclone status if these exceed 120km/h. Tropical cyclones are classified on the basis of strength and are measured according to the Saffir Simpson scale. This was developed in 1965 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and climatologist Robert Simpson to classify tropical cyclone damage. Regions bordering the East, West and South Pacific are influenced by considerably more tropical cyclones each year than southern Africa. An average of between five and 15 tropical cyclones make landfall on islands and continents in those regions each year. The southern African sub-continent, meanwhile, experiences one every few years. This is partly because most...

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