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Tropical Storm Chalane brings heavy wind, rain but limited damage in Madagascar

December 29, 2020

Tropical Storm Chalane, which formed last week in the Indian Ocean, hit the Fenoarivo Atsinanana District Sunday with maximum wind gusts of between 40 and 50 km per hour, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said here late Monday.

Chalane weakened to a Tropical Depression after landfall and continued south-west over the country with a decreased wind speed of 20 km/h and heavy rains.

According to preliminary reports, the storm caused some isolated flooding and damage to electricity poles, but no significant damage.

As of 28 December, Chalane had left the island nation from the west coast, near Morondava District.

Heavy rains were expected to continue in Madagascar during the day.

Although weakening as it crossed Madagascar, Chalane is expected to pick up speed as it moves over the Mozambique Channel.

Some predictions by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System indicated that it could become a Tropical Cyclone with a speed of 120 km/h, while others said it was likely to remain a Tropical Storm.

OCHA’s update said the storm was projected to impact central Mozambique on 30 December, according to Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). It is projected to make landfall in the province of Sofala -which was struck by Cyclone Idai nearly two years ago -between the districts of Muanza and Machanga, and could bring heavy rains across the provinces of Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Inhambane.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi warned on 27 December, in a post on Facebook, that the tropical storm could affect four million Mozambicans in the central provinces as the warmth of the surface waters in the Mozambique Channel was predicted to strengthen the storm.

He urged people living in at-risk areas to evacuate since the storm was likely to bring floods.

After making landfall in Mozambique, the storm could proceed towards Zimbabwe and subsequently tto Botswana.

In Zimbabwe, Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, which were hardest-hit by Cyclone Idai, remain most at risk according to current predictions.

Malawi is no longer projected to be directly impacted due to the southwards change in the storm’s predicted trajectory. (PANA/NAN)

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