ZIMBABWE has been warned to be on high alert for yet another tropical storm, Cyclone Belal, which barrelled down the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion yesterday and is heading for Madagascar’s east coast.
In a statement yesterday, a climate service centre, Zimcast, said Cyclone Belal might affect rains in Zimbabwe over the next few days as it draws moisture from the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
“We now have tropical cyclone Belal, east of Madagascar. Belal is currently a category one cyclone and is expected to move south-east, away from Madagascar. Belal may affect rains for Zimbabwe over the next few days, as it draws moisture from the ITCZ”, the statement read.
Zimcast urged the department of civil protection and hydrological service providers to monitor the events and update relevant institutions such as disaster risk management agencies in member States to support preparedness and response measures to protect lives and property.
“It is expected to become a tropical cyclone late on Saturday and will be named Belal as the second tropical system of the year, has been upgraded by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre to “high”, indicating the high probability of development into a cyclone within the next 24 hours.
The eye of Cyclone Belal hit the French island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean yesterday bringing heavy downpours driven by strong winds. A few hours earlier, the island had been placed on violet alert, the highest level, which implies a strict lockdown of the entire population, including emergency and security services, according to local authorities.
Air Mauritius yesterday announced that it had cancelled all flights in and out of La Réunion.The last cyclone to leave a trail of destruction in Zimbabwe was Cyclone Idai of March 2019. The cyclone killed over 1 500 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.