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Residents of northern Mozambique are bracing for Tropical Cyclone Dineo‚ with some reporting wind levels of 50 knots‚ or 92 km/h.
Business owners and residents who have spoken to Times Media say tides are abnormally high in Guinjata Bay‚ approximately 550km north of Maputo and 25km south of Inhambane on the coast.
Renier Botha‚ who manages the Guinjane Lodge on Guinjata said strong winds have been swaying palm trees and as a result he has moved inland for his safety. The lodge is currently empty.
“Its very scary and we don’t know what is going to happen or if the structures are still going to be there by the time the cyclone has passed‚” he said.
The lodge‚ located 100 metres from the beach‚ is situated on a dune but Botha said there was no guarantee of safety on higher ground as the winds could be damaging. Botha and his wife Selma who have been managing the lodge for 11 years say they have never seen something like this.
“Its been raining heavily since 3am and it has not stopped. The winds have gotten worse and the cyclone is still to hit us‚” said Botha late on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile Brian Jefferies of Jeff’s Palm Resort in Praia de Jangamo‚ Inhambane province‚ has been tracking the building storm and regularly posting videos from the beach on Facebook.
Jefferies went so far as to drive along the beach in a bakkie to get closer to the waters edge in order to film growing swells. Around 3:30pm‚ he reported wind gusting at 49 knots South-East.
“The water has not breached our dive centre and restaurant. I think the lodge will be fine‚ but we’ll see what happens there. I know some of the other places had water breaches much earlier‚” Jefferies told Times Media.
Jefferies said they had been warned that when the wind direction changes later on Wednesday night‚ it will cause much more damage.
“We were told it would cause huge damage. It’ll be catastrophic‚” he said.
At the time of speaking to Times Media around 4pm‚ Jefferies said the wind speeds were around 50 knots‚ roughly 92km/h.
South African Weather Service chief forecaster Kevin Rae said that Dineo‚ classified for now as a severe tropical storm‚ would gather strength as it reached the coast of Mozambique late on Wednesday evening‚ near Massinga‚ north of Inhambane.
The storm was positioned in the Mozambique Channel in the early hours of Wednesday moving at about 14km/h.
“Given that Dineo is likely to reach tropical cyclone intensity during today‚ the projected maximum strength of surface winds associated with the system will be 70 knots‚ or about 130km/h.
“Whilst this wind strength is somewhat weaker than the earlier estimate of 160 to 170km/h‚ this is still a formidable storm system which has the potential to cause much damage to coastal and inland infrastructure‚” Rae said.
— TMG Digital