Disaster management teams are at the ready as tropical Tropical storm Dineo prepares to make landfall on Friday.
The low-pressure system was expected to bring heavy rain, flooding and possibly wind damage to the southern parts of Mozambique; parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga; and the northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal.
Nasa reported the formation of the tropical cyclone on Monday and said it was the fifth tropical cyclone of the southern Indian Ocean season formed this week.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesman Msawakhe Mayisela said the department “always” had a plan in place, complete with disaster management responders.
“We’re on high alert, well equipped and ready to respond.”
The rainy season, he said, often brought with it flooding and destruction.
“Summer leaves a trail of devastation. Winter brings its own challenges in the form of veld fires and the like. As part of our efforts we are also still distributing lightning conductors.”
He said they were monitoring weather forecasts.
Kevin Rae, the chief forecaster at the South African Weather Service, said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that the storm was still intensifying.
“Furthermore, the latest forecast guidance suggests that it is likely to intensify to Intense Tropical Cyclone status as early as Wednesday night (tonight), shortly before making landfall near Inhambane, southern Mozambique, early on Thursday (tomorrow).”
The system was likely to be associated with maximum winds in the order of 90 knots, or approximately 166km/* .
An obvious concern for communities, he said, would be torrential rain and flooding.
“Furthermore, along the southern coastline of Mozambique, strong and damaging winds as well as sea conditions are expected to become very rough. In addition to the overall risk faced by coastal communities, the threat of storm surge (coastal flooding) will be particularly pronounced.”
By Thursday it would still be a “significant rain-bearing system”, but would be starting to weaken somewhat in intensity.
“It is expected that much of southern Mozambique can expect very heavy rainfall, most likely in the region of 100 to 200mm per day, or even more.”
Rae said that while over South Africa heavy rainfall might occur in places over the lowveld and adjacent escarpment regions on Thursday night, the greatest impact with respect to South African provinces was expected to take place on Friday.
By Saturday, Dineo was expected to drift into Botswana, and showers were expected to continue over Limpopo.