Cyclone Hidaya hits, weakens

DAR ES SALAAM: AS Tropical Storm Hidaya hits some parts of the country, the latest progress shows that it has significantly lost its strength after landing on Mafia Island yesterday at 9 am.

Moreover, clouds associated with the tropical storm spread over most areas of the southern part of the country, particularly in Lindi, Mtwara, Coast regions, and its environs, resulting in heavy rains in some areas.

According to a statement issued yesterday by the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) until 3 pm, Kilwa Masoko (Lindi) reported 200.8 mm of rainfall for the past 6 hours.

“This is a significant amount considering that the long-term mean rainfall for May for Kilwa Masoko station is 96.6 millimetres.

Also read: TZ on alert as cyclone Hidaya approaches 

The observed amount (200.8 mm) in 6 hours is therefore around 208 per cent of the monthly total for May for Kilwa Masoko,” the statement reads in part.

Meanwhile, periods of strong winds exceeding 40 kilometres per hour have been observed in Mtwara, Kilwa, Zanzibar, Tanga and Dar es Salaam at different times.

Since the storm’s onset, relentless heavy rains and fierce winds have battered the coastal areas.

The onslaught of heavy rains was accompanied by strong winds gusting over 50 kilometres per hour in various coastal areas, including Mtwara, Kilwa, Zanzibar, Tanga and Dar es Salaam.

“At 3 am on Saturday, 4 May this year, tropical storm Hidaya hovered about 125- 128 km away from Kilwa, Mafia and Dar es Salaam coasts.

It packed powerful winds reaching up to 120 km/h and had a central pressure of 985 hPa,” TMA said.

Reports from Kilwa Masoko in the Lindi region indicated a staggering 111.3 millimetres of rainfall in the past 6 hours alone.

This deluge surpasses the long-term mean rainfall for May by over 115 per cent, underscoring the severity of the weather event.

Similarly, Mtwara and Naliendele weather stations recorded substantial rainfall amounts of 90.7 millimetres and 85.3 millimeters, respectively, during the same period, far exceeding monthly averages for May.

TMA warns that these adverse weather conditions are likely to persist as Hidaya edges closer to the Tanzanian coastline, albeit with a slight weakening expected by last night.

However, during this period, the severe tropical storm Hidaya is expected to continue enhancing heavy rains and strong winds over the coastal areas, especially in Lindi, Mtwara, Coast, and Dar es Salaam regions, together with Unguja Island and the surrounding areas.

Coastal regions, including Lindi, Mtwara, Coast, and Dar es Salaam, along with Unguja Island and its environs, are expected to bear the brunt of the storm’s impact.

Moreover, the maritime hazards associated with Hidaya continue to pose threats, with large ocean waves forecasted along the Tanzanian coastal belt.

The combination of heavy rains, strong winds, and perilous sea conditions underscores the need for heightened vigilance and preparedness among coastal communities.

As the nation braces itself for the relentless onslaught of tropical storm Hidaya, authorities urge residents to adhere to safety protocols, including avoiding unnecessary travel, seeking refuge in sturdy structures, and staying informed through official weather updates.

With the storm’s trajectory uncertain, proactive measures and community cooperation remain pivotal in mitigating potential damages and ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens.

TMA continues to monitor the progress of Severe tropical storm Hidaya and its associated impacts and will provide forecast updates every three hours, and whenever necessary and as appropriate.

In Zanzibar, strong winds and large waves caused damage to at least eight houses, tearing off their roofs, and eleven traditional fishing boats (Ngalawa) were also affected, according to Mr Makame Khatib, the Executive Director of the Zanzibar Disaster Management Commission (ZDMC).

To mitigate risks, the Zanzibar government imposed a ban on sea transportation to Pemba, Tanga and Dar es Salaam on Saturday and advised fishermen to refrain from venturing out to sea for the entire day.

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