Cyclone Freddy weakens, delays landfall by 12hrs

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TROPICAL Cyclone Freddy was reported to be weakening yesterday afternoon as it moved over Mozambique, but Zimbabwe’s Metrological Services Departments (MSD) indicated that it was still expected to make a landfall.

In a joint statement yesterday, the MSD and the Department of Civil Protection said the cyclone had slightly delayed landfall by 12 hours.

“The former Tropical Cyclone Freddy is currently in the Severe tropical storm stage, with wind speed of rotation of approximately 110km/hr. It has slightly delayed landfall by 12 hours. This delay will result in further clearing of the atmosphere over southern Africa and strengthening Freddy’s rotational winds to 120km per hour (65 knots) by the time it makes landfall over southern Mozambique later in the afternoon,” the statement read.

“In a few hours, Freddy’s spinning cloud bands (spanning more a +500km radius) would cause strong winds, reduced to less than 40 knots (typical strong winds are usually 20 knots), increased cloudiness and localised heavy rains (above 65mm) from Saturday 25 until Tuesday February 28, 2023 in districts such as Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Chivi, Masvingo Rural, Zaka, Bikita, Gutu and Buhera.”

Yesterday afternoon, South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecaster Wayne Venter said the storm started to weaken much faster than initially anticipated.

Government said the country remained on high alert despite indications of the cyclone weakening.

Schools in identified hotspots were closed yesterday as a preventive measure, with authorities also urging people to be cautious and stay indoors in case the cyclone sweeps through the country.

As of yesterday, the cyclone had killed seven people and caused significant damage in Madagascar. In Mozambique, it had turned into a storm accompanied by strong winds. _*NewsDay*_

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