Madagascar and the Philippines flood threat

Two tropical systems have recently developed, both are relatively weak, but could cause some flooding.
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 12:05

Tropical cyclone 16S is strengthening as it eases through the Mozambique Channel towards southern Madagascar [Al Jazeera]

The global weather is fairly quiet at the moment, but we do have two tropical systems which have recently developed. They are both relatively weak in terms of the winds contained within them, but both have the potential to cause life-threatening floods to their areas of influence.

The first storm, Tropical Cyclone 16S has been brewing up for the last few days in the Mozambique Channel. It currently has sustained winds of 65kph gusting to around 85kph.

This really is not too impressive in terms of tropical storms, and does not even register on the Saffir-Simpson scale (used to measure Atlantic hurricanes). However, the storm is very well organized and is likely to strengthen further over the next 36 to 48 hours.

By Thursday it is expected to peak with winds nearer 110kph gusting 150kph (equivalent to a category one hurricane). At this time the eye of storm will be approaching the southwest of Madagascar. The strongest winds will be on the Madagascan side of the system, so heavy seas and storm surges are expected to increase the likelihood of flooding.

Parts of western Madagascar have been reporting 50 to 60mm of rain per day for the last two days. It is certainly possible that some areas here could see over 400mm of rain over the next 48 to 60 hours as the storm intensifies.

The flood threat is enhanced by the fact that the storm will not clear the south of the country until the weekend. Hence the heavy rain will sit over the area for many hours or even days.

The other tropical system giving cause for concern is called Tropical Depression 02W and it is now moving over the southern Philippines. Here the winds are no more than 45kph gusting 65kph and they will maintain that kind of intensity until the storm reaches the South China Sea, but even then they will only strengthen to around 65kph.

The encouraging news is the storm is moving westwards fairly quickly at 20kph. That is just as well when we consider the impressive totals already notched up.

Davos recorded 64mm of rainfall in 24 hours on Monday. Butuan had 74mm, with Maasin 76mm. Hinatuan topped the table with 111mm of rain within the same period of time. You may recall that Hinatuan, in Surigao del Sur, was devastated by Typhoon Bopha in December.

More than 1000 people were killed by the strong winds and heavy rains brought in by Bopha. Thankfully, we do not expect to see anything like that scale of destruction from Tropical Depression 02W, but there will be a legacy of heavy showers lingering here for much of this week.


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