Cyclone Idai batters Mozambique coastal city, several injured

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"Whenever we get tropical cyclones, it draws moisture away from the country, but this one - because it's further south - there's some moisture of the north eastern Limpopo", said Maliage.

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A tropical cyclone is a low-pressure weather phenomenon that forms over oceans when the water temperature is at least 26 degrees Celsius.

"Tropical Cyclone IDAI is expected to make a landfall over Beira in Mozambique which is 480kms to Nsanje Boma by Thursday 14 March, while dumping heavy rains overland in Mozambique including southern Malawi".

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"We are expecting more than 100mm of rain in places; it could even reach 200mm or more in places".

Before the storm formed over the Mozambique Channel this week, it was a disturbance that settled over the region and unleashed torrential rains the flooded much of the two neighboring countries.

The cyclone is accompanied by strong winds and thunderstorms and is likely to cause massive destruction in Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces.

"The waves have decreased to 4m or 5m and by this evening the sea state would have calmed down", Maliage said.

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Government emergency services had yet to give an update but the South African Weather Service (SAWS) said the cyclone was moving inland, northwest of Beira.

Weather service Windy.com showed that the storm was off the east coast of Mozambique, with winds already in excess of 100km/h.

Mozambique is prone to extreme weather events. It followed Tropical Storm Desmond which hit in January of the same year.

Delaware-based energy giant Anadarko and South African petrochemical group Sasol have significant investments in major liquefied natural gas projects off northern Mozambique, but these are now out of harm's way.

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A team of 15 rescuers including rescue technicians, advanced life support paramedics and lifeguards are on their way with six 4X4 vehicles, boats and jet skis to assist the community. "I just realised there's quite a few people who have been sent there", Maliage said.

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