Home » Weather tracker: Cyclone Freddy brings torrential rain to parts of Africa

Weather tracker: Cyclone Freddy brings torrential rain to parts of Africa

Andrew Stewart (Metdesk)

Downpours lash Mozambique and Zimbabwe – meanwhile, unseasonably high and low temperatures hit east and west US

The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Freddy continue to wreak havoc in parts of south-east Africa. Originally forming as a disturbance embedded within a monsoon trough on 5 February, the system continues to bring torrential rain. However, it is no longer classed as a tropical cyclone, with sustained wind speeds now well below 74mph.

Having spent three weeks moving westwards across the entire Indian Ocean before affecting Mauritius, Réunion and Madagascar, Freddy made landfall in Mozambique on 24 February, bringing sustained winds of 50mph.

However, for mainland Africa it is the torrential rainfall rather than the wind that is the main issue. Heavy rain has been falling in southern parts of Mozambique since Friday, with eastern areas of Zimbabwe also hit by torrential rain over the weekend. Much of the southern half of Mozambique has had 200mm to 500mm of rain, with in excess of 200mm in parts of south-east Zimbabwe. The system will continue to stall over the region over the next couple of days, bringing further heavy rain.

By Thursday, much of eastern Zimbabwe is likely to have been hit by 200mm to 400mm of rain, with 300mm to 600mm across much of central and southern Mozambique. For context, there is about 600mm of rain in London annually. It is no surprise this has already caused devastating floods. From Thursday, the remnants of Freddy look likely to drift back eastwards into the Mozambique Channel and there is the potential for it to strengthen again before revisiting Madagascar by the weekend.

Meanwhile, after large temperature contrasts between northern and southern parts of the US last week, this week the differences will be felt between the east and west. A large area of high pressure in the eastern North Pacific Ocean will drive cold northerly winds into western parts of the US, resulting in temperatures 10C to 15C below average later this week. Simultaneously, low-pressure systems developing to the east of the Rockies will allow relatively warm south-westerly winds to affect much of the eastern US, with temperatures here rising 10C to 15C above norma. Temperatures are expected to exceed 40C in south Texas by Thursday.

Source: theguardian.com