Tropical Storm Eloise has been making headlines in recent days and while the system continues to show extreme signs of force in Mozambique, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) said it won’t be long before it makes landfall in South Africa with damaging effects.
Tropical Storm Eloise is located in the central part of the Mozambique Channel as of Friday and is moving west south-westwards at a moderate speed of approximately 22 km/h.
“During the past 24 hours, it has intensified significantly, given the very warm ocean waters (sea surface temperature (SST) close to 30°C ) of the Mozambique Channel, which provide an abundant source of energy to drive the system,” SAWS said in a statement.
During the next 24 hours, the system is expected to move closer to Beira, Mozambique.
“Moreover, Eloise is expected to further intensify beyond its current status of ‘Severe Tropical Storm’, reaching ‘Tropical Cyclone’ status during tomorrow [Saturday], ahead of landfall near Beira in the latter half of tomorrow [Saturday],” SAWS said.
As a landfalling Tropical Cyclone, one can expect “very destructive” winds of 118 to 166 km/h.
SAWS expects Tropical Storm Eloise to continue along a fairly straight path through southern Mozambique during the course of Sunday, 24 January 2021. It will then make its way to SA bringing on some heavy tropical rain.
“It is at this time that the north-eastern parts of South Africa can anticipate the onset of heavy tropical rain, particularly along the escarpment and lowveld areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, as well as the northern sector of Limpopo. The northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal can also expect heavy rains during Sunday. These conditions are expected to continue into Monday,” it added.
“If we are expected to experience rainfall in Gauteng it will be on Monday but over the northern parts.”
There is a severe risk of “disruptive rain” which can be associated with widespread flooding and flood-related damage of infrastructure including housing, roads and bridges. While the heaviest rains are expected on Sunday and Monday, there will still be rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, albeit much lighter, which can result in further flooding.
Apart from heavy rainfall, SAWS also expects strong surface winds that will result in south-easterly to easterly gale-force winds — approaching 80 km/h — especially over northern Limpopo on Sunday 24 January 2021.
Due to this, a level 4 (Yellow) warning of a significant risk of damaging winds has been issued by SAWS. The weather service said these regions rarely experience such winds, therefore, there could be significant damage to informal houses and structures, trees may even be uprooted in the process, it said.
The eThekwini municipality is not taking any chances, warning people to brace for possible heavy downpours as a result of a tropical storm which could make landfall in Mozambique on Thursday before moving into SA.