Cyclone Freddy, upgraded to a very intense tropical cyclone on February 19, is expected to make landfall in Madagascar this week, with a chance of fatalities.
The previous tropical cyclone to affect the country was Cheneso, which hit about a month ago and caused dozens of deaths. Freddy is predicted to deal much more damage.
Estimates suggest winds are reaching 140 mph, comfortably within Category 4 cyclone intensity or very intense tropical cyclone status. Despite forecasts of a slight reduction in intensity over the next few days, by the time Freddy makes landfall in Madagascar, gusts are likely to reach 100 mph, making it a Category 2 cyclone. With destructive winds and Significant rainfall of 100-200mm possible, there will also be a serious risk of deadly landslides.
Freddy has had a long journey across the Indian Ocean in recent weeks, becoming a Category 1 cyclone on February 6 just south of Indonesia. Since then, he has traveled almost 4,000 miles across the ocean in the past 14 days to where he is now, some 1,000 miles off the east coast of Madagascar.
Only two other cyclones are known to have crossed the Indian Ocean: Eline and Hudah, both in 2000. Although Freddy looks like a significantly long-lived cyclone that will have traveled the length of an ocean, it is far from the farthest. traveled and more durable.
In 1994, Hurricane John, also known as Typhoon John, covered more than 7,000 miles in 31 days. The hurricane started in the eastern Pacific and moved so far west that it was also considered a typhoon because it existed in the eastern and western basins of the Pacific Ocean.
Once Freddy makes landfall, its interaction with land elevation and the reduction of a moisture source will cause it to weaken fairly quickly, with winds reducing to around 50 mph by the time the cyclone clears the western side of Madagascar. .
As it rapidly returns to open ocean, Freddy is expected to regain momentum and make landfall on continental Africa in Mozambique on February 23 as a tropical storm.