Cyclone Kenneth gains strength, threatening Tanzania and Mozambique

Clay Curtis
April 25, 2019

According to weather monitoring services, Tropical Storm Kenneth may bring "life-threatening weather" with wind speeds of up to 105 miles per hour to northern Mozambique, the Comoros Islands and Tanzania over the coming days.

"If this depression becomes the next organized tropical cyclone in the South-West Indian Ocean, it would be given the name Kenneth", said AccuWeather.

Global energy companies such as Exxon Mobil have been developing huge natural gas fields off the coast of northern Mozambique.

"The (weather) system will generate a storm surge when landing on the coast of Mozambique, which can reach between 2 and 4 metres in some areas, to which must be added the breaking of waves and heavy rainfall, which can cause flooding in Mozambique", the report said.

The cyclone christened Kenneth is said to have undergone strengthening on Tuesday, April 23, and contains sustained winds of 63-87 km/h (39-54 mph).

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Mozambique's National Institute of Disaster Management said that about 682,500 people could be at risk from the storm in the northern Cabo Delgado and Niassa provinces. Mozambican health officials and worldwide aid agencies have been battling cholera in the wake of the cyclone.

The authorities however believe it is premature to take extreme measures preparing for landfall, since it was "yet only a prediction". More than 1,000 people died in the storm and the flooding that followed it.

As the cyclone neared the archipelago, schools were closed and inter-island hopper flights suspended.

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is not expected to be as powerful as Cyclone Idai which struck Mozambique over a month ago but the impact could be even more severe, with more than half a million people at risk this time.

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