Maputo — Cyclone Eloise has entered the Mozambique Channel and is now projected to hit the central Mozambican city of Beira.
The cyclone passed over northern Madagascar, where it lost strength but did not dissipate. On Wednesday night it entered the Mozambique Channel where the warm surface waters guaranteed that it would re-intensify.
By 06.00 on Thursday morning it was heading towards the central Mozambican coast at a speed of 35 knots (65 kilometres an hour), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) operated by the United States navy.
But when it makes landfall, somewhere near Beira, on Friday evening, the wind speed will have increased to about 140 kilometres an hour.
Speaking on the Radio Mozambique programme "Café de Manha", on Thursday, the deputy general director of the National Meteorology Institute (INAM), Mussa Mustafa, said "Right now the epicentre of the storm is in the Mozambique Channel, where the temperature of the surface waters is very warm, and this ensures that it will intensify. As from Friday night, it will approach our coast, particularly Sofala and Inhambane provinces".
The country's relief agency, the National Disaster Risk Management and Reduction Institute (IND), is sending teams to the provinces likely to be hit by the cyclone in order to mitigate its impact.
Eloise is projected to move inland on Friday and Saturday, bringing heavy rain to Zimbabwe and parts of northern South Africa.