By Elita Chikwati
Tropical Depression Chalane, which entered Zimbabwe on Wednesday, further weakened and finally dissipated with its remnants moving into Botswana, leaving minimal damage and no loss of life or injuries.
Light rains and windy conditions are, however, still forecast from atmospheric disturbances and the return of normal weather patterns for this time of year.
Chalane exited Zimbabwe through Matabeleland North after it deposited notable falls during its short stay: Tsholotsho received 87mm, Chivhu 69mm, Lupane 63mm, Chikomba 58mm, Kwekwe 54mm and Mutare 42mm. The Meteorological Services Department, the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) will continue monitoring the effects of these falls and giving the public advice.
In an update yesterday the Department of Civil Protection said while assessments were underway to ascertain the extent of the damage, there was no loss of life, no injuries, no missing people and no major damage to critical infrastructure reported due to the tropical depression.
“Electricity and mobile network coverage was temporarily disrupted across Manicaland province due to strong winds and efforts were underway to bring the services back to normal.
“Regarding roads infrastructure, one side approach to Mtshabezi Bridge was reported to have been washed away. In Chimanimani District, a feeder road between Chikwizi and Muuyuweburi (Biriri) was also washed away”, the department said.
Some communities in Chikukwa, Machongwe and Rusitu Valley reported that roofs to their houses were blown off and windows were shattered by significant rains accompanied by moderately strong winds.
Manicaland Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Edgars Seenza said yesterday evening that the province did not receive any heavy rains yesterday.
“Nyanga and Chimanimani districts had light rains today. In terms of damages by the tropical depression, we are still compiling. The only reports we have were of nine houses whose roofs were partially disturbed in Chimanimani and a few trees that fell in Skyline but have since been cleared.”
Zinwa reported that no dams had been breached from the flood waters so far and rivers had not burst their banks.
“Hotspot rivers such as Save, Bubi, Runde, Gwayi, Musengezi and Odzi did not burst their banks as anticipated. However, some feeder streams were reported to be full. zinwa will continue to monitor hotspot areas such as Middle Sabi, Muzarabani, Tsholotsho and others to assess the downstream effects, as significant rainfall occurred along the path of the system.
Assessments to further ascertain the damage caused by Tropical Depression Chalane are being conducted by sub-national structures and the report will be updated as necessary.
Meanwhile, the Met Department has urged people to look out for flooding, light rains and moderate winds, collapse of huts and fallen trees due to excessive moisture.
Members of the public have been advised not to cross fast-flowing and flooded rivers and streams whether walking or driving, to cooperate with members of the civil protection committee for safety, and always take care on the roads when traveling as the roads might be slippery and contain hidden dangers covered by water inkling live wires, utility poles and fallen trees.
On December 22, the country was informed of a tropical depression forming in the south-west Indian Ocean north of Mauritius and Reunion.
It intensified into a moderate tropical storm Chalane by December 25, making a landfall in Madagascar on December 27. After making a landfall in Madagascar, Chalane lost its intensity and became a tropical depression.
On Monday December 28, the tropical depression hit the Mozambican channel, where it re-intensified into a tropical storm and later to a severe tropical storm. A tropical depression has wind speeds above 37km/h.
When the wind speeds reach 64km/h it is a tropical storm.
At 118km/h it becomes a cyclone.
The severe tropical storm made a landfall in Mozambique on Wednesday and effects were felt in the Eastern Highlands.
Later, weather reports indicated that it had weakened, but was going to bring heavy rains and strong winds. The tropical depression rapidly further weakened and has since passed. The Herald