Idai to bring rain, strong winds to Madagascar, Mozambique this week

By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 11, 2019, 5:50:26 AM EDT

Idai strengthened into an intense tropical cyclone in the Mozambique Channel and will bring flooding rain and strong winds to Madagascar and parts of the Mozambique coastline into the middle of the week.

The storm will remain in an area conducive for further strengthening over the next couple days.

Idai can approach very intense tropical cyclone status (the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans) by midweek.

Idai old Mar 11

During the early week, Idai will stall just west of Madagascar before eventually turning back westward toward Mozambique.

While the strongest winds will remain offshore during this time, gusty winds are expected from near Mahajanga southward to Mainirano. A few gusts up to 80 km/h (50 mph) are possible during this time.

Areas that experience a prolonged onshore wind will also be at risk for coastal flooding. Rough surf and seas will also be a concern along the west coast of Madagascar into early week.

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Heavy rainfall will be another concern across northern and central Madagascar as downpours target the region each day through Thursday, despite Idai tracking away from the island by the middle of the week.

Total rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) is expected across the region with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 200 mm (8 inches) from Soalala to Maintirano.

Idai Impacts 3/10

The storm may then approach the central coastline of Mozambique near Beira by Thursday. Landfall as a powerful and dangerous tropical cyclone is possible during this time.

Locations near Beira should be prepared for damaging winds and flooding rainfall. Long-duration power outages and travel shutdowns are possible.

Idai may continue to track westward late this week into this weekend taking the storm across central Mozambique and into eastern Zimbabwe.

Locations at risk for locally damaging winds, flooding and significant travel disruptions include Chimoio, Matare and Harare.

Check the AccuWeather tropical page for the latest details on tropical systems around the globe.

Madagascar Satellite 3/11

The above image shows an infrared satellite snapshot of Idai off the coast of Mozambique. (Photo/NOAA)

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