Batsirai: South Africa ‘LIKELY’ to be affected by tropical cyclone

Batsirai: South Africa ‘LIKELY’ to be affected by tropical cyclone

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has stated that Batsirai, a tropical cyclone now striking the Southern Indian Ocean, is not posing an immediate threat to the country.

Batsirai continues to be a major tropical storm in the Indian Ocean’s southern reaches. It is the South-West Indian Ocean domain’s second named system for the 2021/2022 season.

The cyclone is currently located at 17.0°S / 061.2°E and moving steadily south-westwards at 18.5 km/h, with sustained winds of about 140 km/h (10 knots).

SA NOT YET IN DANGER FROM BATSIRAI

The SAWS’s Kevin Rae said despite significant recent advances in Numeric Weather Prediction (NWP) and supercomputing, it is not yet possible to accurately determine whether tropical cyclone Batsirai will eventually affect South Africa, either directly or indirectly.

“The latest ensemble forecast from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) provided a good idea of the most likely path and movement of Batsirai during the coming 5 days.

Suffice to say that, at least in the days ahead, there is no immediate weather-related threat for South Africa, in relation to this tropical cyclone.”

Rae said that the latest track forecast issued by RSMC La Reunion suggested that over the next few days, Batsirai should pass north of Mauritius and Reunion islands.\

Rain bands around the periphery of Batsirai however may well affect these islands.

“By contrast, it seems highly likely that the eastern coastline of Madagascar (particularly the central part of the coast) will bear the brunt of strong, damaging winds and torrential rainfall, as Batsirai makes landfall at some stage in the latter half of Saturday, 5 February 2022,” he said.

The weather service also cautioned that very rough seas, combined with storm surge, tend to be more extreme on the southern (poleward) side of tropical storms in this region of the world.

The steep, rugged topography of the mountains extending along the eastern coastline of
Madagascar, will no doubt, worsen the risk of rainfall as well as flash-floods and mudslides.