Centre of downgraded storm to hit Pafuri in KNP this afternoon

SKUKUZA – The South African Weather Service says cyclone Dineo is weaker than forecasters predicted and has now been downgraded to a status of ‘tropical depression ex-Dineo’.

The strong winds have died down from 120 kilometres per hour, to 80 kilometres per hour in Mozambique.

The weather service says despite the downgrade, residents in parts of South Africa can still expect flooding and heavy rains.

Damage in Mozambique

The storm which has been building along the east coast of Southern Africa made landfall lin Mozambique last night battering two coastal towns with winds of up to 160 kilometres per hour with roofs blown of houses and electrical pylons toppled in Inhambane 500 kilometres nort of Maputo.

As Dineo has been downgraded to a tropical depression there is not any talk of the so-called eye of the storm anymore. Weatherforecaster Wayne Venter of the South African Weather Services (SAWS) however said he is expecting the centre of the storm to hit Pafuri area of the KNP this afternoon.

“We expect the rivers in the North like the Luvhuvhu and Limpopo rivers to be swollen and this might lead to localised flooding. Lots of rainfall is expecting in this area of the KNP. There will be strong winds but we don’t expect them to be damaging. We must however warn that because of the heavy rainfall that there can be floods,” said Venter.

Watch: Stay safe in Dineo

A spokesman for the Mpumalanga Disaster Management Team said to Lowvelder that their teams are ready to help the KNP disaster management team when the northern area of the Park is in the grip of the storm. He expects this to happen within the next eight to 12 hours in areas like Shingwedzi, Pafuri and Orpen.

“There are chances that there will be localised flooding. All KNP resources are ready to cope with the storm. They are on high alert and can do evacuations if necessary. They are very well prepared. We are also on standby to go in and help the teams on the ground.”

Mr. Deon de Kock, a visitor in Punda Maria close to the border with Mozambique, said this morning it was “raining a little bit. They have closed all the gravel roads here and it is difficult to communicate with Mozambique if you need to cross the border,” he said. He guessed that there might be about 15 or so units full of guests at present.

Other reports from KNP visitors are that Satara is overcast, Skukuza had soft rain for about three hours thismorning and in Olifants Camp there are hectic winds.

Elize Parker
Environmental Journalist Lowvelder

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