Kenneth could be stronger, less devastating than Idai
Kenneth formed this week in the southern Indian Ocean as a moderate tropical storm and moved north of Madagascar, with maximum winds on Tuesday of 65 kph (40 mph).
The storm could strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, with winds up to 195 kph (120 mph). That would make it stronger than Idai was when it hit central Mozambique and could rank it among the strongest storms to ever hit the country.
Idai’s sustained rainfall, combined with strong winds and storm surge, set the stage for catastrophic flooding that submerged towns and villages as the storm pushed inland toward Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Northern Mozambique also is not as populated as Beira, the population hub struck by Idai. Several rivers come together there and flow into the Mozambique Channel, a factor that made the region more vulnerable to flooding.
Moreover, the nation’s northern region has not seen intense rainfall in recent days, which hopefully will mitigate the impact of flooding compared with Idai.
Tropical Cyclone Leon-Eline remains the strongest cyclone to ever hit Mozambique. It ripped through the region in 2000, with winds stronger than 210 kph (130 mph) and killed about 800 people.