Tropical storm Eloise is currently over the Mozambique channel and is expected to intesnify into a cyclone before slamming into the country’s central region on Saturday. Forecasters predict the storm will hit the port city of Beira and surrounding areas, which bore the brunt of Idai in March 2019.
Eloise could bring as much as eight inches of rain over a 24 hour period to the area and pack winds in excess of 90 miles per hour.
“There are growing concerns regarding the potential for widespread floods, with all river basins in Sofala and Inhambane provinces already above alert levels and more rains to follow in the coming days,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, referring to two central provinces in the storm’s path.
AccuWeather says the heaviest rain looks most likely to fall near the point of landfall along the southern Mozambique coast as well as in far southern Mozambique, near Maputo, and into extreme northeastern South Africa, generally to the north of Richards Bay.
After making landfall in Mozambique, tropical storm Eloise is forecast to travel inland to southern Zimbabwe, eastern South Africa and far eastern Botswana.
While the storm will lose strength as it heads inland, the winds and rain could damage some of South Africa’s coal plants that lie in the storm’s path.
“Eloise is definitely a concern for our coal which get so easily wet”, says Jennifer Fitchett, Associate Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, in an emailed response to South Africa media outlet, News24.
Sasol, which has a gas processing facility on the coast south of Beira says it is taking the necessary precautions before the storm arrives.