Ruto Warns Kenya as Cyclone Hidaya Threatens South Tanzania

The government of Kenya mandates evacuations for residents near 178 dams and water reservoirs in 33 counties.

Following torrential downpour and flooding that ravaged East Africa, killing close to 400 people and displacing tens of thousands more, Kenya and Tanzania have been preparing for a cyclone.

Cyclone ‘Hidaya’, a severe storm, is expected to slam into the Tanzanian coast south of Dar es Salaam from the Indian Ocean on May 4, 2024, according to Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA).

More concerningly, President William Ruto declared on May 3 at the State House in Nairobi that Kenya, which has never experienced a cyclone before, might do so at this time. He also put the largest economy in East Africa on high alert.

It is said that Cyclone Hidaya formed over the South Indian Ocean, northeast of the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros and east of Tanzania. According to Kenyan media outlet, the French meteorological office, Meteo France’s center in the Indian Ocean French Overseas Department of La Reunion, gave its name “Hidaya”.

“The storm is currently at a severe level of warning, with maximum significant wave height reaching 7.9 metres (26 feet), and is forecast to make landfall tomorrow. It is predicted to intensify to a peak intensity of 165 km/h (90 knots) in around 24 hours as the environment remains conducive with high moisture content. Anticipated periods of heavy rain and strong winds in Mtwara, Lindi, and Pwani (including the Mafia Islands), according to TMA,” the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre or ICPAC, posted on X.

The TMA noted that Hidaya was stationed about 342 kilometres off the coast of the port town of Mtwara in southern Tanzania “until three o’clock in the morning of May 3”. “During this period, typhoon HIDAYA has continued to strengthen with wind speed increasing up to 140 kilometres per hour,” it added.

In certain places in the regions of Mtwara, Lindi, Pwani, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Morogoro, the islands of Unguja and Pemba, and the surrounding territories, there will be heavy downpours along with strong winds.

Hidaya will decrease in strength in the next 12 hours as it continues to move very close to the coast of Tanzania. It is expected to continue to exist until May 5 and will decrease in strength after that, said the Authority.

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