Zimbabwe is today expected to receive heavy rainfall of 50 millimetres within 24 hours accompanied by strong winds in some areas due to Cyclone Idai, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has said. The department said in a statement that Tropical Cyclone Idai was heading in a south-west direction as predicted earlier.

By yesterday morning, the department said the cyclone was moving towards the Mozambique border and was anticipated to make landfall in Beira, Sofala Province, in the early hours of this morning.

It said Zimbabwe will start experiencing cloudy and wind conditions today.

“Starting this evening (yesterday) Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Central provinces should start experiencing cloudy and windy conditions with isolated thundershowers. Elsewhere, it should be partly cloudy.

“From today, due to increased moisture after the expected landfall of Tropical Cyclone Idai, it should be cloudy across the country with intermittent moderate rainfall over Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.

Rainfalls of 50mm in 24hours are expected in some places (localised heavy falls) over these areas accompanied by strong winds. The peak of the rainfalls should be today,” the department said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has urged the nation, particularly provinces likely to be affected, to be on the alert for  disasters which may be caused by the cyclone.

“In case of strong winds, it is safer to shelter in houses with the strongest roofs and to close all windows and doors. In cases where roofs and walls are collapsing, shelter may be sought under tables, chairs and beds,” it said in a statement.

“Reports should be made to the nearest police station in cases where people go missing and for those living in cities and towns, the usual fire and ambulance services can be alerted in case of emergencies.

“In rural areas, communities should contact local police, councillors or the nearest clinic,” read the statement.

The ministry advised members of the communities to be on the alert for flooding and to quickly move to safe places if there is need to do so