Rain and high winds hit Mozambique as Cyclone Freddy approaches | News
The cyclone, one of the strongest storms recorded in the southern hemisphere, hit Mozambique in February.
Intense rains and winds lashed parts of Mozambique as Tropical Cyclone Freddy bore down on the country for the second time in as many weeks, authorities have said.
Freddy slowed its progress towards the southern African country and was 60 kilometers (40 miles) off the coast on Saturday morning, according to Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology (INAM).
“The system reduced its speed from seven to four kph, thus delaying its entry,” INAM said in an update. “Heavy rain and strong winds” were affecting the main regions of Zambezia, Manica and Sofala, he said.
The cyclone, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, made landfall on February 6.
While satellite data shows it appears to have stopped at sea, residents have taken precautionary measures.
“The city is a no-go zone; no shops or businesses are open. Everything is closed. We are trapped,” resident Vania Massingue said by phone from her home in the port city, which is in the country’s main Zambezia region.
After moving for 34 straight days, the weather system appears to be on record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the previous record was held by a 31-day hurricane in 1994.
“I see some houses with roofs torn apart, windows broken and the streets flooded. It’s really scary,” said Massingue, who works for a local environmental charity.
State channel TVM said the power utility had turned off electricity completely as a precaution, and flights had been cancelled.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The cyclone is moving slowly, which meteorologists have said means it will pick up more moisture from the sea, bringing heavy rain.
Around the world, climate change is making hurricanes wetter, windier and stronger, scientists have said. Oceans absorb much of the heat from greenhouse gas emissions, and when warm seawater evaporates its heat energy is transferred to the atmosphere, fueling more damaging storms.
More than 171,000 people have been affected after the cyclone swept through southern Mozambique last month, bringing heavy rains and floods that damaged crops and destroyed homes, with OCHA sending its death toll at 27 so far – 10 in Mozambique and 17 in Madagascar.
More than half a million people are at risk in Mozambique this time, especially in the regions of Tete, Sofala, Nampula and Zambezia.