Cyclone Enawo heading for Madagascar

Cyclone Enawo is at present just to the east of northern Madagascar in the South Indian Ocean, with 10-minute averaged wind speeds near 105 mph and much higher gusts.

The 2016-17 cyclone season has seen record low levels of activity with only six named tropical cyclones occurring across the whole southern hemisphere prior to this weekend. The southern hemisphere tropical cyclone season runs from about October to April across the South Indian Ocean, around Australia and in the South Pacific.

At the weekend Tropical Cyclone Blanche developed north of Australia and tracked across Bathurst Island bringing a local record of 384 mm (15.1”) rain in 24 hours. Blanche has now made landfall over a relatively sparsely populated part of the Kimberley coast of Western Australia and is expected to continue moving inland bringing heavy rain.

Meanwhile Cyclone Enawo is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning UK time. There are likely to be impacts from wind near the coast, but of greater concern are huge amounts of rain with 750 mm possible in some locations as the cyclone moves inland and turns southwards. Madagascar has suffered drought conditions in recent months, so whilst rainfall is welcome, this quantity over a very short period of time is likely to cause damaging impacts across a large part of the country.

Cyclone Enawo on 6 March 2017

Cyclone Enawo on 6 March 2017

Madagascar is familiar with cyclones and over recent years several have caused damage, destruction and loss of life. The most recent was Tropical Storm Chedza in January 2015 which caused severe flooding and 80 fatalities after making landfall on the western side of the island. A year earlier Cyclone Hellen struck the north-western side of Madagascar before moving back out to sea. In 2013 the far south-western part of the island was affected by Cyclone Haruna resulting in much wind damage, floods and the loss of 26 lives. In 2012 strong Cyclone Giovanna stuck the central part of the east coast again causing damage and loss of life.

The last cyclone to strike the north-eastern part of Madagascar where Enawo is expected to make landfall was Cyclone Bingiza in 2011. High winds and heavy rain caused much damage in the region and 34 lives were lost.

Further Information

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the Southwest Indian Ocean are issued by the Météo France à La Réunion. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.

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