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Deadly Cyclone Kenneth wallops Mozambique as life-threatening flooding persists

April 29, 2019 Visit Africa / Seychelles No Comments Email Email

One person is dead in northern Mozambique after Cyclone Kenneth made a historic landfall late on Thursday. Flooding rain will put more lives and property in peril through this weekend.

Kenneth is the first tropical cyclone with the equivalent of hurricane strength to strike Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado since modern record-keeping (60 years).

The dangerous cyclone made landfall in Cabo Delgado, about 100 km (62 miles) north of Pemba, at the end of the day on Thursday, local time. Kenneth had 10-minute maximum sustained winds of 200 km/h (124 mph), the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans, as it moved onshore.

While its strong winds have dramatically weakened, Kenneth will crawl through northeastern Mozambique this weekend and continue to unleash downpours. More lives and property are at risk as the heavy rain can trigger new or exacerbate ongoing flooding problems.

“A flooding disaster can unfold in Cabo Delgado where Kenneth slammed onshore,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. “Additional downpours into this weekend can push the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ to 600 mm (24 inches).”

The heavy rain can cause streams, rivers and coastal waterways to flood neighboring land and communities.

“This is a life-threatening situation as the hardest-hit areas can be put underwater,” Pydynowski warned. “Those needing to be rescued may only be able to be reached by boat or helicopters.”

Flooding downpours from Kenneth can also stream into eastern parts of the Mozambique province of Nampula, as well as graze neighboring southern Tanzania.

Muidumbe, Mucojo, Nacaroa, Montepuez, Pemba and Nacala are among the communities facing flooding. All evacuation orders should be followed.

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