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How cyclones develop & precautions to stay safe

What is a cyclone? And everything you need to know about Hidaya.

A tropical cyclone

A cyclone, also known as a tropical cyclone, is a rotating system of clouds and storms that forms over tropical or subtropical waters.

These storms form over warm ocean waters and can bring lots of wind and rain.

They are characterised by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain.

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Cyclones develop from disturbances in the atmosphere that gain energy from warm ocean waters.

The warm water gives energy to the storms, making them stronger and causing them to spin. The cyclones then move along with the wind, and their path can change based on the weather around them.

The process typically involves an area of low pressure, thunderstorm activity, and, crucially, warm sea temperatures which provide the necessary energy via heat transfer.

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Cyclones move under the influence of the surrounding atmospheric winds, and their paths can be influenced by various weather systems.

Cyclones can cause widespread damage including severe wind damage, heavy rainfall leading to flooding, and storm surges that can inundate coastal areas.

The intensity of these effects typically depends on the cyclone's strength, size, path, and interaction with geographical features such as landmasses.

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Cyclone Hidaya formed in the South-West Indian Ocean and was tracked as it moved towards eastern Africa.

As of early May 2024, Hidaya reached wind speeds of up to 80 knots (which is really fast!) with gusts higher, and a minimum central pressure of 974 mb. The significant drop in air pressure in its center indicates it's a strong storm.

The cyclone has shown a westward trajectory and has been influencing weather patterns along the eastern African coast.

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Cyclone Hidaya is expected to continue its movement towards the western direction at a slow speed.

Given its current path and intensity, areas in its trajectory should prepare for strong winds, heavy rains, and potential flooding.

The effects of Cyclone Hidaya will be felt in Nairobi, though primarily in the form of enhanced rainfall rather than strong winds.

According to updates from the Kenya Meteorological Department, while the cyclone is expected to influence weather patterns over parts of Nairobi, the main impact will be significant rainfall, which might lead to flooding, especially in low-lying areas.

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1. Stay informed: Regularly check updates from weather stations and government advisories.

2. Evacuation plans: Know and prepare to execute evacuation plans if residing in a cyclone-prone area.

3. Emergency kits: Maintain an emergency kit with essentials such as water, food, medications, and first aid supplies.

4. Secure property: Secure loose items and reinforce windows, doors, and roofs to minimise damage.

5. Avoid water bodies: Stay away from beaches, rivers, and other water bodies prone to storm surges and flooding.

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Monitoring agencies like the Kenya Meteorological Department and the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) provide continuous updates and forecasts which are crucial for preparedness and response strategies during such natural disasters.

This content was generated by an AI model and verified by the author.

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