Authorities urge vigilance as cyclone Hidaya approaches

TANZANIA: CYCLONE Hidaya edged closer to Tanzania’s eastern coast on Friday, prompting authorities to issue warnings advising citizens to take precautionary measures due to anticipated heavy rain and strong winds.

The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) and the government reminded the public to exercise maximum caution and stay updated with the latest weather forecasts as tropical storm Hidaya progresses towards the Tanzanian coast.

The latest analysis by the TMA indicates that there is a likelihood of tropical cyclone Hidaya weakening slightly over the next 12 hours as it edges closer to the Tanzanian coastline. TMA forecasts suggest that the cyclone is expected to persist until May 5, 2024, and weaken thereafter.

According to the Authority’s statement issued yesterday at 3:00 pm, tropical cyclone Hidaya was observed over the Indian Ocean, east of the Mtwara coast, approximately 342 kilometres away from the coast. It was noted to be strengthening and moving westward, with maximum wind speeds of up to 140 km/hr.

The presence of cyclone Hidaya near the Tanzanian coast is anticipated to significantly impact weather patterns, resulting in heavy rains and strong winds in regions including Mtwara, Lindi, the Coast regions (including Mafia Island), Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Morogoro, as well as the islands of Unguja and Pemba and their surrounding areas.

“While the tropical cyclone Hidaya shows signs of slight weakening, spiral bands are expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds along the coastal belt on May 4 and 5,” the statement from TMA highlighted.

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TMA has advised the public, especially those in the aforementioned areas and individuals engaged in marine activities in the Indian Ocean, to exercise utmost caution, stay informed with the latest weather forecasts and updates, and seek guidance from relevant experts to mitigate potential impacts.

The weather authority reassured that it is closely monitoring the development of tropical cyclone Hidaya and its associated impacts and will provide forecast updates every three hours, or as necessary.

In a parliamentary address, Minister for State, Prime Minister’s Office, Policy, Parliament, and Coordination, Jenista Mhagama, echoed the call for caution, particularly in regions identified by TMA.

She emphasised the importance of heeding advice from TMA and relevant authorities, as well as seeking professional guidance to minimise risks.

Mhagama urged regional authorities to maintain vigilance, provide timely information on the cyclone’s progress, and take appropriate action in response to warnings issued by TMA.

“We continue to urge religious institutions and all Tanzanians to pray for divine intervention, seeking protection from this imminent threat,” she noted.

On Thursday, TMA issued urgent warnings to communities to take necessary precautions against the storm.

TMA confirmed that tropical storm Hidaya, initially identified as a minor air depression, had intensified into a cyclone with moderate strength, positioned approximately 506 kilometres east of the Mtwara coastline in the Indian Ocean.

“As per the May 1 report this year, which mentioned the existence of a moderate air depression in the Indian Ocean near Mtwara’s eastern coast, the depression has intensified further and is now known as cyclone “Hidaya,” according to a statement released by TMA.

TMA further stated that the cyclone was anticipated to make its presence felt from May 2 this year and was projected to persist until May 6.

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