Tropical storm Dineo to reach cyclone stage

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Tropical storm Dineo should reach Mozambique tomorrow. picture: AFP

South Africa should brace itself for severe weather conditions from tomorrow as an intense cyclone reaches the country’s shores.

Tropical storm Dineo which is expected to reach a cyclone stage starting in Mozambique has been predicted to reach South Africa by tomorrow.

The storm moved from being an expected tropical disturbance on Monday to a moderate tropical storm and now the weather service has warned of a much more severe blow.

Senior forecaster Ezekiel Sebego said: “Tropical storm Dineo which is now expected to reach tropical cyclone stage winds of up to 118-165km/h early today. Further intensification is expected and the storm will reach the intense tropical cyclone winds of up to 166-212 km/h around midday today, before making landfall at midnight near Inhambane in southern Mozambique.

“South Africa will only start to experience the rain from this tropical system tomorrow over the Lowveld, spreading westwards by Friday.”

The tropical cyclone will be associated with extremely powerful, destructive winds and marked storm surges along the coast. Heavy rains started in parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal since yesterday. These provinces and Limpopo are set to suffer the worst effects of the tropical storm. Tomorrow and Friday, the north-eastern parts of South Africa, including parts of the Kruger National Park, may experience heavy rain and localised flooding.

“While there is much uncertainty regarding the location and timing of the storm’s impact within South Africa, the most likely areas to be affected include the Ehlanzeni district, including the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga and Mopani and Vhembe districts in Limpopo before spreading to other districts in Limpopo.

“It is also useful to keep in mind that all landfall tropical systems inevitably begin a rapid process of weakening and decay once they are over land and deprived of the energy provided by warm ocean water. It can therefore be anticipated that while much rainfall can be expected for southern Mozambique and parts of South Africa later in the week, the system itself will, in all probability, dissipate within 36 to 48 hours of moving inland.” Sebego said.

The storm’s name was assigned according to a predefined alphabetical list for the 2016-17 tropical storm season in the southwest Indian Ocean.

LILLIAN SELAPISA

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