Tropical Cyclone Kenneth claims it first victim and leaves Comoros Island badly bruised and shaken

A man stands on fallen trees which damaged his home in Moroni, Comoros, Thursday. (The Spokesman-Review)
  • The cyclone, which is currently located around 170 kilometres to the west of Comoros, pounded the island chain on Wednesday causing widespread damage.
  • Kenneth is the strongest storm on record to hit the Comoros islands.
  • Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Kenneth continues to intensify as it moves towards northern Mozambique.

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is busy wreaking havoc on its path.

The cyclone, which is currently located around 170 kilometres to the west of Comoros, pounded the island chain on Wednesday causing widespread damage.

As Kenneth passed to the north of Comoros, which has a population of about one million people, it was packing sustained winds of around 140km per hour, equivalent to a category-1 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with significantly higher gusts.

By 9:00 GMT, the winds around Kenneth had intensified to 230-gusting-to-280km/h, making it equivalent to a category-4 hurricane, Aljazeera reported.

It is, however, expected to weaken by the time it makes landfall at around 18:00 GMT on Thursday. Landfall is still expected to be close to the city of Quiterajo in the Cabo Delgado province by which time Kenneth will have winds around 180-gusting-to-220km/h.

The Comoros Islands, which lies between 11 and 13 degrees south in latitude, have only had three damaging cyclones since 1983. Thus, Kenneth is the strongest storm on record to hit the islands.

Kenneth will produce huge amounts of rainfall as it reaches the coast and slowly staggers inland. Rainfall totals of 350 to 500mm of rain are widely expected and one or two places could exceed 600mm.

Widespread life-threatening floods and mudslides are also likely.

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Kenneth continues to intensify as it moves towards northern Mozambique. This will be the first time in history that two storms of category-2 strength or higher have hit Mozambique in the same season.

Tanzania, which has virtually no experience of tropical cyclones, is also on Kenneth’s destructive path and the southern part of the country is on alert and evacuations have taken place.

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