A powerful tropical cyclone has hit Mozambique and Tanzania. Three people have been killed in Comoros, with meteorologists calling it the strongest storm to make landfall in the area. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall on the African coast on Thursday, bringing gusting winds and heavy rain.
Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique on Thursday, bringing gusting winds and putting the already storm-battered country on “red alert.”
The cyclone made landfall with maximum sustained winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour (137 mph), the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.
Meteorologists warned that the cyclone has the equivalent strength of a Category 4 hurricane, according to NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, which is tracking the storm. They added that “this is the first (and strongest) hurricane-strength storm” to hit the area.
The UN warned that the latest storm — expected to dump heavy amounts of rain — could cause flash flooding and landslides in Mozambique’s far north.
Authorities have warned that several rivers, as well as coastal waterways, might overflow — placing hundreds of thousands of people at risk of flooding.
The director of Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), Augusta Maita, said evacuation orders were in force in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado Province.
“All measures will be implemented to save lives,” said Maita. “We will make sure that people are evacuated today, even if it means forced evacuation,” she said.