Paidamoyo Chipunza and Nesia Mhaka
Sunny breaks are expected countrywide today as the intensity of Tropical Cyclone Idai continues to decrease and weaken while the centre is now heading in a north-easterly direction towards the Malawian border, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has said.
It said light rain is, however, still expected in parts of Harare Metropolitan, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces with conditions expected to be warmer in the daytime and mild in the morning and over night.
The MSD said Cyclone Idai, which initially showed signs of moving from Chimanimani towards Mutare, Mutasa and Nyanga areas, has also affected other areas such as Chipinge, Birchenough Bridge and Masvingo.
In a statement last night, the MSD said significant rainfall was, however, still recorded in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces.
“Ex-Tropical Cyclone Idai continues to weaken and decrease in intensity as its centre drifts north-eastwards towards the Malawian border, though behind it significant rainfall was still recorded in provinces such as Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East,” read part of the statement.
According to the MSD, within the last 24 hours (Saturday 16 March till Sunday 17 March) notable rainfall was recorded in Chipinge (219 mm), Chisengu (127 mm), Buhera (102 mm), Mukandi (89 mm), Rusape (56mm), Wedza (54mm) and Mutare (52 mm).
“The public should take caution and avoid crossing flooded rivers, parking under trees and moving to higher ground whenever they notice flooding in their area as downstream flash flooding still remains a potential,” said the MSD.
Tropical cyclones are low pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters and have sustained winds of 63 km/h near the centre.
The gale force of winds can extend hundreds of kilometres from the cyclone centre. They derive their energy from the warm tropical oceans and do not form unless the sea-surface temperature is above 26.5 degrees celcius.
Once formed, they can persist over lower sea-surface temperatures for days.
They usually dissipate over land or colder oceans. Cyclone Idai has also affected neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi.
Hundreds of people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi have died while others are still missing.
Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed. Roads have been washed away and thousands are stranded due to heavy flooding.