Mozambique Braces for Another Powerful Cyclone, Just One Month After Idai

By | April 24, 2019

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is gathering strength on a track to strike northern Mozambique Friday, less than a month after a storm came ashore further to the south and killed more than 1,000 people.

Kenneth has top winds of 52 miles (84 kilometers) per hour, and could reach 104 mph before it makes landfall between Palma, where Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is building a $20 billion LNG project, and Pemba on Mozambique’s coast, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Kenneth would be the equivalent of a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale. Cyclone is another name for the class of storms that includes hurricanes and typhoons.

Anadarko doesn’t anticipate major impacts at its site in Mozambique but will continue to monitor the situation and adjust plans to meet new conditions, the company said in a statement.

“The amount of rain predicted is the most worrisome thing,” said Bob Henson, a meteorologist with Weather Underground, an IBM Company. “It could go inland and stall out and linger there.”

As much as 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain could get wrung out of the storm as it moves inland on a track to the north of the devastation caused by Idai in March, Henson said. The International Monetary Fund Executive Board approved a $118.2 million rapid credit facility for Mozambique in Idai’s wake.

“The country as a whole has been through a national disaster,” Henson said. “Obviously, the whole country is affected. It is the last thing the nation needs.”

The southern Indian Ocean has had 10 storms that would be classified as major hurricanes in the U.S., which is double the long-term average, said Phil Klotzbach, a storm researcher at Colorado State University.

“It has been a very active tropical cyclone season in the south Indian Ocean,” Klotzbach said.


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