Powerful cyclone is barrelling towards northern Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth is on track to be the second major weather system to hit storm-ravaged Mozambique in just over a month.

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    Cyclone Kenneth strengthens as it heads to Mozambique [Al Jazeera]
    Cyclone Kenneth strengthens as it heads to Mozambique [Al Jazeera]

    Cyclone Kenneth has formed in the Indian Ocean and is strengthening while making its way towards northern Mozambique.

    This would be the second storm system to make landfall for the country in just over a month. In March, powerful Cyclone Idai made two landfalls in Mozambique and was responsible for more than 1,000 deaths.

    Cyclone Kenneth is not likely to cause anywhere near the amount of deaths or damage that Idai did, but it is expected to come onshore on Thursday afternoon with winds of 194 kilometres per hour gusting up to 240km/h, making its strength equivalent to a category three hurricane.

    Before striking Mozambique, Kenneth will pass just to the north of the tiny island nation of Comoros on Wednesday evening. Heavy rain and an expected storm surge of two to three metres has already put the tiny islands on alert.

    Landfall in northern Mozambique is expected near the city of Quiterajo in the Cabo Delgado province. Heavy rain with the storm is expected to bring accumulations of 350 to well over 600mm into the weekend.

    Widespread flooding along the coast and inland is expected for the province with lower rainfall amounts just across the border into Tanzania.

    Coastal storm surges from the point of landfall southwards could be up to three metres on top of normal tide levels.

    Historically very few tropical storms and cyclones ever make landfall along this part of Mozambique's coast. If Kenneth continues on its expected track and strength, it will be the strongest storm to hit this region in recorded history.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies