Cyclone Idai – Southern Africa

What originated as a tropical depression off coast of Mozambique, quickly turned into a catastrophic weather event when the storm turned into Cyclone Idai on 11th March in the Mozambique Channel and struck the city of Beira on the 15th March 2019.

map track 2

Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar were all affected by heavy rains and flooding. However, it was Mozambique which bore the full force of the cyclone. Sustained winds of 120 mph, heavy rain and resulting flooding demolished homes, wrecked infrastructure and ended many lives.

In Beira, where the cyclone made landfall, according to the Red Cross, over 90% of the city had been destroyed. The UN has said that Cyclone Idai triggered a “massive disaster” in southern Africa, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.


For more on the humanitarian crisis as it unfolded, click to see the thread below, which includes links to news reports, maps, videos and pictures:

Coverack flash flood

On 18th July 2017, a major flood event hit Coverack on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall.

Coverack location map

Heavy rainfall started falling at around 3pm on the Tuesday afternoon. The storm failed to move eastwards as expected and dumped an unusually large amount of water on the village and surrounding area. In 2.5 hours, 105 mm of rain fell, compared to the usual July average of 62mm. This flowed down towards the village, sweeping rocks and large boulders with it.

Coverack rainfall radar

Water swept down the main road into the village, inundating houses and businesses, before plummeting into the harbour below. A ‘major incident’ was declared as Coastguard helicopters were dispatched to the scene to airlift residents to safety.

Coverack cascade 1

50 properties were damaged as well as the main road into the village.









Local news report – Part 1

Local news report – Part 2

Additional information and sources:

ITV News reports
BBC News reports

Boscastle floods – Ten years on

Why did Boscastle flood in 2004?

Good simple explanation video here

Case study overview here 

Met Office overview here

Plus – watch this documentary to find out more about the impacts:

Ten years on

The Boscastle floods. Ten years on BBC article

Watch edition of BBC Spotlight on what has happened over the following ten years

How has the area been managed since? Presentation

Photos: Boscastle floods 2004. Ten years on.

VIDEO – The lessons learned ten years after the Boscastle floods 

Ten years since the Boscastle floods. What, where, why, how?

Flooding on the Somerset levels 2014

Sunday 25 January 2014

A “major incident” has been declared for all areas affected by flooding in Somersetfollowing warnings of further heavy rain.

BBC VIDEO REPORT – Villagers still cut off
Residents in the village of Muchelney have been cut off for three weeks and have been reliant on volunteers in boats bringing them supplies. 

17,000 acres of land are still underwater a month after the flooding began. The council is providing support to affected residents, including temporary toilets, sandbag collection points in local villages and deliveries to the most stranded properties.
It has provided around 3,000 sandbags in the last few weeks. The council is also on standby to provide alternative temporary accommodation and set up rest centres if the situation gets worse.

Monday 27 January 2014

VIDEO – Somersetfloods: Ten tonnes of flood water pumped per second

VIDEO – ‘River needs dredging properly’ say local people.

Many people are still stranded. Many are now complaining that if The Environment Agency have dredged the rivers, the extent of the flooding would have been reduced. Meanwhile, The Environment Agency is continuing to pump water from the Somerset Levels and has extra pumps working on Northmoor and Saltmoor.

Management strategies

Somersethas set up a “tactical command group” to deal with the flooding emergency declared in the area. 
The group will include representative from the emergency services, local authorities, health organisations and utilities and will use their expertise and knowledge to tackle the issues that have arisen.
Devon and Cornwall Fire Service crews have been deployed in four wheel drive vehicles and rescue boats to provide safety advice to residents and map access routes across the affected areas.

Villagers who have been cut off from the rest of the country by floods for more than three weeks have received help from a floating bridge.
The pontoon has been set up along a country road linking the village of Muchelney to the rest of Somerset. The bridge allows villagers to walk part of the journey to dry land, however, the rest has to be completed by boat. Muchelney has been inaccessible by car and foot since 2 January 2014. Some parts of the surrounding area are 5 feet underwater.
What does it mean when a ‘major incident’ is declared?

A major incident is declared where there is a situation which could not be dealt with easily by the local council and could threaten lives, disrupt the community or damage property. It means the local authority can organise emergency evacuations, set up rest centres and mobilise voluntary organisations.
The biggest pumping operation ever is under way on the Somerset Levels, but much of the water is going into already swollen rivers. Seven tonnes of water are being pumped away from the villageof Fordgate in Somerset every second, according to an Environment Agency spokesman.
More homes on the Somerset Levels are facing flooding as water levels continue to rise, ahead of further predicted heavy rainfall this weekend. 
VIDEO REPORT – Major incident declared
The bad weather and flooding has left many farms covered by floodwater. In Somerseta lot of productive farmland has been lost, with more than 43 square miles flooded 
Useful background information on data behind the flooding can be viewed here:

Flooding on the Somerset levels is nothing new though. Watch this video from 2012:

Sources: BBC News; Sky News; The Guardian; ITV News; The Environment Agency; The Telegraph; Aztec Media Skycam; Daily Mail