Tropical Cyclone Giovanna over central Madagascar [NASA]

Madagascar is now watching a much weakened Giovanna moving into the Mozambique Channel. This wasn’t the case just less than two days ago, when this massive storm was approaching from the east.

With wind speeds exceeding over of 230 kilometres per hour, Cyclone Giovanna was comparable to a category four hurricane if measured in the Atlantic Basin. Without dropping its intensity, the storm made landfall on Madagascar’s eastern coast, just to the south of the port city of Toamasina, late Monday evening.

Based on the early assessment reports coming in from the island nation, it’s the lower lying coastal areas that look to have been hit the hardest.  Bearing the full brunt of the storm’s power, as well as a storm surge of 3.9 – 5.5 metres, it is cities such as Brickaville, on the east coast, that seemed to have sustained the most damage.

At least three people have been killed by the storm; one by a falling power pole while another died when their home collapsed.  Heavy flooding also caused another fatality when some areas of the country received more than 225 millimetres of rain in a very short period.

Some regions have reported that up to 80% of their homes and businesses have been damaged, while other areas are now dealing with the massive cleanup effort and continued power outages.

While Madagascar is now beginning to recover, it is Mozambique which will next be watching where this storm will go.  Even though Giovanna has been weakened significantly while over land, the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel could revitalize this storm.  Forecast models indicate in the next few days the storm is set to do just that.

Mozambique is particularly vulnerable to flooding, having experienced heavy rainfall from two previous cyclones.

Source: Al Jazeera