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Tropical Cyclone Eloise turns deadly after making landfall in Mozambique

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 1/23/2021 Adam Douty

Tropical Cyclone Eloise has made landfall just south of Beira, Mozambique, in the pre-dawn hours Saturday morning, local time. The storm will continue to press inland over the weekend, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and northern South Africa.

On Friday, local time, Eloise strengthened into a severe tropical storm over the Mozambique Channel. On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, this is equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane.

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Satellite imagery of Tropical Cyclone Eloise making landfall just south of Beira, Mozambique (AccuWeather).

Prior to its second landfall in southern Mozambique, Eloise strengthened even further, packing top-sustained winds of 150 km/h (93 mph), which is the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin.

As of Saturday afternoon, local time, there are reports that at least three people are dead in Beira, located just north of where the center of Eloise made landfall.

The central Mozambique city, which was hit by Tropical Cyclone Chalane late in December, faced torrential downpours and damaging winds from Eloise through Saturday. Pictures that have emerged show streets turned into rivers by floodwaters and the power of the storms winds.

As Cyclone Eloise continues to track west across central Mozambique, it continues to lose wind intensity. By Saturday night, local time, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression.

While the threat from damaging winds and coastal flooding is waning, Cyclone Eloise can still bring significant impacts to areas that have already been hard-hit by tropical systems in recent months.

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Widespread and heavy rainfall will continue across the region into the beginning of next week.

Much of southern Mozambique, Eswatini (Swaziland) and extreme northeastern South Africa can all be threatened by flooding into Monday.

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Widespread areas of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rain are expected, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 500 mm (20 inches). 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.

Heavy rainfall from Eloise is expected to dissipate early next week as the storm continues to become less organized, but locally heavy downpours could last into the middle of the week due to the remaining tropical moisture across the region.

Eloise first developed over the weekend across the open waters of the southern Indian Ocean. The depression intensified into a moderate tropical storm before moving inland across northern Madagascar late on Tuesday, according to Meteo France's Le Reunion office. A moderate tropical storm has the intensity equivalent to a tropical storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

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Visible satellite loop of Tropical Depression Eloise churning across northern Madagascar on Wednesday afternoon, local time. CIRA/RAMMB

Eloise brought heavy rain across northern Madagascar through Thursday before moving into the Mozambique Channel, where it gradually intensified.

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