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Cyclone Favio Makes Landfall in Southern Mozambique

Cyclone Favio made landfall Thursday in southern Mozambique with powerful winds and heavy rains. The tropical storm is bringing unwelcome rain to a country already dealing with the effects of heavy flooding.

Kevin Ray is with South Africa’s National Weather Service forecasting center. From Pretoria, he told VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua that Cyclone Favio remained on a steady course for Mozambique.

“Even as early as two and a half days ago we were suggesting landfall for mid-morning for the Vilanculos-Bazaruto area. And it’s been almost spot on. The eye wall went ashore around about 0900 Greenwich time, Zulu time, which corresponds to about 1100 South African local time, just on the coast immediately north of Vilanculos,” he says.

The storm was a strong one when it landed, the strongest since 2001. Ray says, “It hit shore classified as an intense tropical cyclone. We were expecting winds of the order of anything between 160 to 200 kilometers per hour. Hurricane force winds.” Reports say the storm blew the roofs off most buildings, including the hospital, in one coastal town.

Asked whether Favio will make conditions in flooded areas of Mozambique worse, Ray says, “Yes absolutely…as with any other tropical system, the rain bands themselves, which can radiate out… in this case 150 kilometer radius from the core…can be very localized, intense rain bands…the eastern lowlands of Mozambique are tremendously low lying and marshy, very low elevation. Very easy to flood.”

He says that there’s a great deal of concern that a damn on the Zambezi River will overflow, adding to the problems in already flooded areas. Ray also says, “We are concerned that as the systems moves up into those central provinces toward Tete province and the catchment area of the Zambezi that further rainfall, which could be of the order of 100 to 300 millimeters per 24 hours, could really dramatically exacerbate the existing human misery situation there.”