Southern Africa: Cyclone Kenneth Strengthening as it Heads for Coast

Cyclone Kenneth on April 24, 2019.
25 April 2019

Cape Town — Cyclone Kenneth - which is approaching the southern coast of Tanzania and northern coast of Mozambique - has been upgraded to an intense tropical cyclone by Meteo France, the French national meteorological service, AccuWeather reports.

Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, writes that an intense tropical cyclone contains sustained winds of 159-209 km/h, equal to a hurricane of Category 3 to 4 strength in the Atlantic or East Pacific oceans.

Accuweather says that prior to reaching the eastern Africa coastline, the cyclone brought heavy rainfall to parts of Madagascar.

"Locations from Ambanja and Antisiranana to Andapa and Antalaha had drenching downpours and localized flooding. Rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) were common with 300 mm (12 inches) reported in Sambava," Leister writes.

The YouStorm Twitter account (run by weather and Greenland researcher Chris Chambers) says that the cyclone has intensified to category 4 hurricane strength after passing the Comoros and is heading for north Mozambique.

The ReliefWeb portal says Tropical Cyclone Kenneth formed north of Madagascar and east of the Aldabra Atoll, north of the Mozambique Channel, on April 23. "It is expected to make landfall in the district of Palma in Mozambique on 25 April...The Global Disaster Alert Coordination System (GDACS) has issued an orange alert for the Cyclone, meaning a medium humanitarian impact is expected based on the storm strength and its forecasted path."

ReliefWeb quotes UNOSAT as saying that the entire population of Comoros (758,339) is within the Cyclone’s windspeed zones, with Grand Comore the primary concern. In Mozambique, more than 747,000 people are living within the cyclone’s path, mainly in Cabo Delgado Province, including a projected 117,000 living in high wind speed zones (OCHA, 24 Apr 2019), ReliefWeb says.

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