Tropical Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique early Saturday striking Mozambique’s key port city of Beira before weakening.
As heavy rains head toward South Africa, the South African Weather Service warned parts of the Kruger National Park (KNP) in Mpumalanga, particularly in the far north, will be hit by major rain and strong winds over this weekend.
Eloise was downgraded to a moderate tropical storm with winds of 45 knots (52 miles per hour) after hitting Beira, the South African Weather Service added.
The alert is specifically for Sunday, January 24. Disaster management teams in the Park are on high alert and monitoring its path.
Category 2 cyclone
Eloise, identified as a category 2 cyclone, hit Mozambique’s port city of Beira and surrounding areas Saturday.
Cars were submerged in water, walls of some low-lying buildings collapsed and swaths of land were flooded in Beira, posts on Twitter shows.
Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from Johannesburg, said the affected area is one where “people live in informal settlements, homes made from plastic sheeting [and] corrugated iron.”
KNP Managing Executive Gareth Coleman said: “Our scientists, in conjunction with the South African Weather Services, are closely monitoring developments and will advise on whether we need to evacuate camps in the affected areas or not.”
“As a precautionary measure, we have already closed all gravel roads and some facilities in the Pafuri area after heavy rains which fell in the evening of 20 January 2021.”
SANParks advised that those persons with bookings at flagged camps in the far north such as Sirheni, Shimuwini and Bateleur Bushveld Camps as well as Sable Hide will be accommodated at Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria Rest Camps.
“Emergency teams are on standby in the park, monitoring the situation and will be activated if there is any danger. We urge tourists to be extra cautious during this period and to call our emergency number for any assistance only on 076 801 9679 or 013 735 0197/4064,” Coleman said.
KwaZulu-Natal on alert
The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department in KwaZulu-Natal, meanwhile, has advised communities in Jozini, Mtubatuba, Ulundi, and Umlalazi to be vigilant as the weather begins to dramatically change.
Eloise has already wreaked havoc in parts of Mozambique with South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini expected to be hit by heavy rains and strong winds when the storm spills over this weekend.
Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said communities have been warned to expect severe weather and remain vigilant.
“We are trying as hard as we can to make sure that people predicted to be on the path on that storm are moved.”
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued an alert for disruptive rain over northern Limpopo from the evening of 23 January, spreading to additional areas of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal from 24 to 25 January.
Limpopo municipalities on orange alert for 23 January are Ba-Phalaborwa, Greater Giyani, Makhado, Maruleng, Musina, New Collins Chabane and Thulamela.