Maputo — Tropical cyclone Chalane was located about half way between Madagascar and Mozambique on Tuesday morning, generating winds of 45 knots (83 kilometres an hour).
At 09.00 the cyclone was about 290 kilometres north of the French possession of Europa Island.
According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC), operated by the United States navy, Chalane is now heading almost due west, on a course that ensures it will make landfall very near the central Mozambican city of Beira early on Wednesday morning. By then the wind speed may have increased to over 90 kilometres an hour.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Monday, the assistant national director of the National Emergency Operational Centre (CENOE), Antono Beleza, said the provincial emergency centres in Sofala and Manica in the centre of the country, and Inhambane and Gaza in the south, have been activated.
"The local risk and disaster management committees have also been activated", he said, "and messages have been sent out urging people to evacuate areas at risk of flooding".
The head of the weather forecasting department in the National Meteorological Institute (INAM), Acacio Tembe, said that the surface temperatures of the Mozambique Channel are warm - 30 to 31 degrees centigrade - "and this will ensure that the storm system gains energy and intensifies".
The cyclone is generating waves in the Mozambique Channel that are currently up to four metres high, and are likely to reach heights of five to six metres by Tuesday afternoon.
When the cyclone hits land, INAM predicts winds of 90 kilometres an hour, with gusts of 110 kilometres an hour. It will bring rainfall of 100 millimetres in 24 hours to much of Sofala province. But by the time the storm crosses the provincial boundary into Manica, the rainfall will have declines to around 50 millimetres in 24 hours.
The Ministry of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries has warning all fishing companies and artisanal fishermen not to put out to sea, and to move their boats and fishing gear to safe areas.