Tropical Cyclone Enawo threatens Madagascar

Major storm expected to be the strongest system to make landfall at the island nation in three years.

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    Tropical Cyclone Enawo has developed in the southern Indian Ocean.

    The storm is heading towards Madagascar and threatens widespread flooding across much of the island nation.

    Enawo is currently about 700km north of Port Louis, Mauritius. The system is staggering southwestwards towards Madagascar at around 4kmph.

    The sustained winds around the storm are now at 150kmph with gusts nearer to 175kmph. Rapid strengthening is expected over the next two days.

    The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said that conditions are "very conducive" to further development. Vertical wind shear is light to moderate and sea surface temperatures are around 29 to 30C.

    Tropical Cyclone Enawo is currently equivalent to a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane. It is forecast to strengthen to a Category 3 equivalent storm with winds approaching 200km/h gusting to 250km/h by Monday afternoon.

    This is a major storm system and could cause destruction.

    It is expected to make landfall on Tuesday morning with the usual hazards of life-threatening flash floods and violent winds.

    Storm surge flooding and torrential downpours are likely. Wave heights of 5 metres are possible and rainfall totals could reach 200 to 400mm in places.

    After making landfall, Enawo is expected to move southwards along the spine of the country, weakening steadily as it gets ripped apart by the mountainous landscape.

    The winds will ease but the flooding rains will linger for much of this week.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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