Cyclone Gafilo

Last updated

Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Gafilo
Very intense tropical cyclone (SWIO scale)
Category 5 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Gafilo 2004-03-06 0655Z.jpg
Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Gafilo approaching Madagascar on March 6
Formed March 1, 2004
Dissipated March 18, 2004
( Extratropical after March 15)
Highest winds 10-minute sustained:230 km/h (145 mph)
1-minute sustained:260 km/h (160 mph)
Lowest pressure 895 hPa (mbar); 26.43 inHg
(Record Low in South-West Indian Ocean)
Fatalities 363 dead, 181 missing
Damage $250 million (2004 USD)
Areas affected Madagascar
Part of the 2003–04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season

Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Gafilo (French pronunciation:  [ɡafil] ; also known as Cyclone Gafilo) was both the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2004. Being unusually large and intense, Gafilo was the deadliest and most destructive cyclone of the 2003–04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season. According to the EM-DAT International Disaster Database, Gafilo killed at least 363 people. [1] Cyclone Gafilo also caused about $250 million (2004 USD) damages in Madagascar, which makes it one of most devastating storms to hit the country on reliable record.

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

2003–04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2003–04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season featured the most intense tropical cyclone in the South-West Indian Ocean, Cyclone Gafilo, as well as nine other named storms. Tropical activity began on September 28 when Moderate Tropical Storm Abaimba formed at a low latitude. Activity continued until late May, following Severe Tropical Storm Juba, which marked the third year in a row that a storm formed in May. The final disturbance, one of sixteen, dissipated on May 24. Activity was near average, and the season was one of the longest on record.

Madagascar island nation off the coast of Southeast Africa, in the Indian Ocean

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.

Contents

Forming south of Diego Garcia, it intensified into a moderate tropical storm on 3 March. One day later, Gafilo became a tropical cyclone, and it ultimately intensified into a very intense tropical cyclone on 6 March, prior to making landfall over Madagascar early on the next day. After crossing the island, Gafilo emerged into the Mozambique Channel and made landfall over Madagascar again on 9 March. After a three-day loop overland, the system arrived at the Indian Ocean on 13 March, and it transitioned into a subtropical depression on 14 March. Gafilo then became extratropical on the next day and weakened, before dissipating on 18 March.

Diego Garcia British atoll in the Indian Ocean

Diego García is an atoll just south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean, and the largest of 60 small islands comprising the Chagos Archipelago. It was first discovered and named by the Portuguese, settled by the French in the 1790s and transferred to British rule after the Napoleonic Wars. It was one of the "Dependencies" of the British Colony of Mauritius until it was detached for inclusion in the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 1965.

Mozambique Channel Indian Ocean strait between Madagascar and Mozambique

The Mozambique Channel is an arm of the Indian Ocean located between the Southeast African countries of Madagascar and Mozambique. The channel is about 1,600 km (1,000 mi) long and 419 km (260 mi) across at its narrowest point, and reaches a depth of 3,292 m (10,800 ft) about 230 km (143 mi) off the coast of Mozambique. A warm current, the Mozambique Current, flows in a southward direction in the channel, leading into the Agulhas Current off the east coast of South Africa.

Indian Ocean The ocean between Africa, Asia, Australia and Antarctica (or the Southern Ocean)

The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering 70,560,000 km2 (27,240,000 sq mi). It is bounded by Asia on the north, on the west by Africa, on the east by Australia, and on the south by the Southern Ocean or, depending on definition, by Antarctica.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Gafilo 2004 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

A disturbance formed south of Diego Garcia on 29 February, and Météo-France La Réunion (MFR) upgraded the identified system within the monsoon trough to a tropical disturbance on the next day. On 2 March, although the centre was exposed due to moderate easterly vertical wind shear, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert on the system which was situated north of a subtropical ridge, based on improved organisation of deep convection and moderate poleward outflow. [2] However, its temporary acceleration on that day lessened vertical wind shear. [3] As the centre became under organised deep convection on 3 March, the system intensified into a tropical depression, then a moderate tropical storm named Gafilo by the Sub-regional Tropical Cyclone Advisory Centre in Mauritius, shortly before MFR even upgraded Gafilo to a severe tropical storm later. When the system slowed down and tracked west-northwestwards along the northern periphery of a building subtropical ridge, it reached category 1 strength on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale late on 3 March. [4] The complete pattern of the cyclone from March 4 to March 8 as it moved through the south western Indian Ocean has been recorded by the TRMM through its satellite imagery. TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. [5]

Météo-France is the French national meteorological service.

Monsoon trough

The monsoon trough is a portion of the Intertropical Convergence Zone in the Western Pacific, as depicted by a line on a weather map showing the locations of minimum sea level pressure, and as such, is a convergence zone between the wind patterns of the southern and northern hemispheres.

Wind shear

Wind shear, sometimes referred to as wind gradient, is a difference in wind speed or direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. Atmospheric wind shear is normally described as either vertical or horizontal wind shear. Vertical wind shear is a change in wind speed or direction with change in altitude. Horizontal wind shear is a change in wind speed with change in lateral position for a given altitude.

Tropical Cyclone Gafilo on 3 March Gafilo 2004-03-03.jpg
Tropical Cyclone Gafilo on 3 March

Although dry air significantly reduced deep convection on 4 March, MFR upgraded Gafilo to a tropical cyclone due to a banding eye, when the system began to expand its clockwise circulation and track west-southwestwards. [6] By dual outflow channels, Gafilo underwent rapid deepening and reached category 4 strength on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale on 5 March, as MFR also upgraded Gafilo to an intense tropical cyclone late on the same day. [7] On 6 March, besides warm sea surface temperature above 29 °C, the atypical third outflow channel from the west made conditions for the cyclone more favourable. [8] Therefore, MFR upgraded Gafilo to a very intense tropical cyclone with a very well-defined circular and warm 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi) diameter eye at 06Z, when it also reached category 5 strength on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. [9] At 12Z, Gafilo attained its peak intensity by the ten-minute maximum sustained winds reaching 125 knots (230 km/h, 145 mph) and the atmospheric pressure decreasing to 895 hPa (26.4 inHg), although microwave imagery showed that the eyewall replacement cycle had begun. [10]

Eye (cyclone) region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones

The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 km (20–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. The cyclone's lowest barometric pressure occurs in the eye and can be as much as 15 percent lower than the pressure outside the storm.

Outflow (meteorology) air that flows outwards from a storm system

Outflow, in meteorology, is air that flows outwards from a storm system. It is associated with ridging, or anticyclonic flow. In the low levels of the troposphere, outflow radiates from thunderstorms in the form of a wedge of rain-cooled air, which is visible as a thin rope-like cloud on weather satellite imagery or a fine line on weather radar imagery. Low-level outflow boundaries can disrupt the center of small tropical cyclones. However, outflow aloft is essential for the strengthening of a tropical cyclone. If this outflow is undercut, the tropical cyclone weakens. If two tropical cyclones are in proximity, the upper level outflow from the system to the west can limit the development of the system to the east.

Sea surface temperature Water temperature close to the oceans surface

Sea surface temperature (SST) is the water temperature close to the ocean's surface. The exact meaning of surface varies according to the measurement method used, but it is between 1 millimetre (0.04 in) and 20 metres (70 ft) below the sea surface. Air masses in the Earth's atmosphere are highly modified by sea surface temperatures within a short distance of the shore. Localized areas of heavy snow can form in bands downwind of warm water bodies within an otherwise cold air mass. Warm sea surface temperatures are known to be a cause of tropical cyclogenesis over the Earth's oceans. Tropical cyclones can also cause a cool wake, due to turbulent mixing of the upper 30 metres (100 ft) of the ocean. SST changes diurnally, like the air above it, but to a lesser degree. There is less SST variation on breezy days than on calm days. In addition, ocean currents such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), can effect SST's on multi-decadal time scales, a major impact results from the global thermohaline circulation, which affects average SST significantly throughout most of the world's oceans.

Shortly after slightly weakening due to land interaction, Gafilo made landfall in the vicinity of Antalaha, Madagascar early on 7 March. Unlike other storms, the overland depression just weakened gradually, because of its unusually large circulation making the outer part still at sea. [11] On that day, Gafilo tracked more southwestwards along the northwestern periphery of a subtropical ridge located to the southeast. [12] Before noon on 8 March, Gafilo arrived at the Mozambique Channel as a moderate tropical storm whose strongest winds were located in the northern sector. [13] On 9 March, Gafilo became almost stationary and then tracked southeastwards along the western periphery of a subtropical ridge located to the east. MFR upgraded the system to a severe tropical storm supported by observed data from Malagasy stations at noon; however, JTWC analysed that the storm became below category 1 strength on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale at the same time in their best track data. [14]

Antalaha Place in Sava, Madagascar

Antalaha is a commune in northern Madagascar. It belongs to the district of Antalaha, which is a part of Sava Region. According to 2004 census the population of Antalaha was 34112.

Late on 9 March, Gafilo made landfall north of Morombe, Madagascar, and the system started to make a three-day clockwise loop over the south part of Madagascar. [11] For the system further weakened after landfall, JTWC analysed that Gafilo dissipated overland late on 11 March, as well as MFR issued a final warning on the overland depression which began to track southeastwards early on 12 March. Surprisingly, MFR began to issue warnings again on the completely disorganised system at noon on 12 March, as the residual centre was expected to go back overseas. Late on the same day, JTWC issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert on the overland remnants, because of improved deep convection over the low-level circulation centre, poleward outflow and weak vertical wind shear. [15]

Morombe Place in Atsimo-Andrefana, Madagascar

Morombe[murumˈbe] is a coastal city in Atsimo-Andrefana Region, Madagascar. It is located at around 21°44′56″S43°21′47″E and can be reached by pirogue from Morondava.

Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert

A Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert (TCFA) is a bulletin released by the U.S. Navy-operated Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu, Hawaii or the Fleet Weather Center in Norfolk, Virginia, warning of the possibility of a tropical cyclone forming from a tropical disturbance that has been monitored. Such alerts are generally always issued when it is fairly certain that a tropical cyclone will form and are not always released prior to cyclone genesis, particularly if the cyclone appears suddenly. The TCFA consists of several different checks that are performed by the on-duty meteorologist of the system and its surroundings. If the condition being checked is met, a certain number of points are given to the system.

Early on 13 March, Gafilo arrived at the Indian Ocean as a tropical disturbance; JTWC cancelled a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert on the system because of the less organised low-level circulation centre and moderate vertical wind shear. [16] Gafilo transferred into a subtropical depression south of La Réunion on 14 March, when the deep convective activity was intensifying with better organisation of a small cluster above the low-level circulation centre due to good upper-level divergence and a warm sea surface temperature of 26 °C to 29 °C. [17] After attaining minor peak intensity in its subtropical period late on 14 March, Gafilo began to track eastward and transitioned into an extratropical depression on 15 March. Owing to a building subtropical ridge located to the southwest, the extratropical depression slowed down and turned northwestwards on 16 March. [18] After slowly weakening, the system completely dissipated on 18 March.

Impact

Madagascar

Destroyed coastline of Mahajanga, Madagascar Cyclone Gafilo Mahajanga.jpg
Destroyed coastline of Mahajanga, Madagascar

Gafilo caused strong winds and torrential rainfall over Madagascar. A half of day after the first landfall, hurricane-force winds were still observed near Mahajanga late on 7 March. When Gafilo was reorganising in the Mozambique Channel, 190 mm (7.5 in) of precipitation was recorded at Maintirano on 9 March, as well as 242 mm (9.5 in) was recorded at Tôlanaro on the same day. During its three-day loop overland, Gafilo brought 238 mm (9.4 in) at Morondava on 11 March. [11]

As Elita has already struck Madagascar one month ago, damage from Gafilo became extremely devastating in the country. The National Rescue Council in Antananarivo reported 237 dead, 181 missing, 879 injured, and 304,000 homeless (among which 174,000 in Antalaha alone). More than 20,000 homes were destroyed, as well as 413 public buildings and 3,400 schools were damaged, including 1,400 completely destroyed ones. The United Nations estimated that there were 700,000 disaster-stricken, 280,000 of which needed urgent assistance. [11]

Despite being located 300 km (190 mi) north of Gafilo’s centre, the shipwreck of the ferry ‘Samson’ still happened at night on 7 March, offshore the northwestern port of Mahajanga. A narrow but strong band of Gafilo caused very rough conditions at sea, making the ferry undergo an engine failure and tip over almost instantaneously. While the number of fatalities remains undetermined (120 people were officially onboard), only three people drifted, ran aground and survived from the shipwreck.The ferry was heading to Madagascar from the Coromos Islands. [19] [20]

In Antalaha, food prices shot up by 35%, and the harbour was badly damaged and not operational. Roads and bridges connecting the city to the outlying villages were inaccessible, as well as electricity, water and telephone lines were cut. [21] Overall in Madagascar, the main damage caused by Gafilo was the subsequent flooding of vast areas in the north, northwest and southwest, where extensive the flooding had caused serious damage to vanilla, rice and banana crops. In many places, the crops were expected to be totally lost. [11]

Moreover, shrimp harvesting also suffered. Some of the concerned areas coincided with those affected by Elita, and stocks and resources had therefore been depleted in many areas. In the absence of immediate response, an increase in water borne diseases such as malaria and diarrhoea could have had an immediate occurrence, while outbreaks of cholera were expected to be witnessed within the coming 6–8 weeks. [21] [22]

Other islands

Damage was minimal to other islands in the South-west Indian Ocean, but precipitation was very heavy. Far from the centre of Gafilo, 393 mm (15.5 in) was recorded at La Réunion within 48 hours, and 159 mm (6.3 in) was recorded at Seychelles on 4 March. Situated 160 km (99 mi) south of Gafilo, ten-minute maximum sustained winds were 49 knots with a peak gust of 66 knots recorded at Tromelin Island. During 7 and 8 March, precipitation at Mayotte was recorded between 100 and 275 mm (3.9 and 10.8 in). [23]

Aftermath

Following the passage of Gafilo, the Malagasy government passed Inter-ministerial Order 17939/2004 in September 2004, which cleared the way for export of new and existing stocks of rosewood as ‘salvage’. This created anarchy in the national parks in the Sava Region, with loggers extracting a large amounts of rosewood and ebony, grossly disproportionate to the amount of damage caused by the storm. [24] [25] During this time, Marojejy National Park reported that with the granting of export rights, logging in the park had resumed. [26] It was not until 2006, with the passing of Inter-ministerial Order 16030/2006, that the export ban was reinstated, nearly two years after the storm, but not before the exporters lobbied the government for an extension ‘following the grievances expressed by operators’ in October 2005, per Memorandum 923/05. [25] [27] Exports were also authorized following cyclones in 2006 and 2007, encouraging the stockpiling of large quantities of lumber in both legal depots and hidden caches around the ports of Vohémar and Antalaha. [27]

Records

With ten-minute maximum sustained winds of 125 knots (230 km/h, 145 mph, (later equaled by Bruce in 2013 and Hellen in 2014 and surpassed by Eunice in 2015 with 10-min sustained winds of 130 knots (240 km/h, 150 mph) and Fantala in 2016 with 10-min sustained winds of 135 knots (250 km/h, 155 mph)) and an atmospheric pressure of 895 hPa (26.4 inHg), Gafilo became the most intense tropical cyclone in the South-West Indian Ocean since reliable records. In addition, Gafilo was the only tropical cyclone in the basin having the atmospheric pressure below 900 hPa (27 inHg) since Chris-Damia in 1982. Gafilo made landfall over Madagascar early on 7 March as a very intense tropical cyclone with ten-minute maximum sustained winds of 120 knots (220 km/h, 140 mph) and an atmospheric pressure of 905 hPa (26.7 inHg), becoming the strongest storm to make landfall over Madagascar and even Africa on record, tied with Hary in 2002.

See also

Notes

  1. "At least 5 killed when cyclone hits Madagascar". UPI. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  2. "Advisories on 2 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  3. "Gafilo". Saison cyclonique Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien, 2003–2004. Météo-France. 2006. p. 62. ISBN   2951166583.
  4. "Advisories on 3 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  5. GC501. "Earth Observatory imagery". NASA. Retrieved 8 March 2004.
  6. "Advisories on 4 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Advisories on 5 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  8. "Gafilo". Saison cyclonique Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien, 2003–2004. Météo-France. 2006. pp. 63, 66. ISBN   2951166583.
  9. "Advisories on 6 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  10. "Gafilo". Saison cyclonique Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien, 2003–2004. Météo-France. 2006. p. 65. ISBN   2951166583.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "Gafilo". Saison cyclonique Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien, 2003–2004. Météo-France. 2006. pp. 68, 69. ISBN   2951166583.
  12. "Advisories on 7 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  13. "Advisories on 8 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  14. "Advisories on 9 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  15. "Advisories on 12 March 2004". Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Archived from the original (TXT) on 2013-06-24.
  16. "Advisories on 13 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.[ permanent dead link ]
  17. "Advisories on 14 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  18. "Advisories on 15 March 2004" (TXT). Mtarchive Data Server. Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
  19. "Madagascar storm death toll rises". BBC News. 10 March 2004.
  20. "Gafilo". Saison cyclonique Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien, 2003–2004. Météo-France. 2006. pp. 70–72. ISBN   2951166583.
  21. 1 2 International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (17 March 2004). "Madagascar: Cyclone Gafilo" (PDF). ReliefWeb. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  22. International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (25 February 2005). "Madagascar: Cyclone Gafilo, Final Report, Appeal 08/04". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  23. "Gafilo". Saison cyclonique Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien, 2003–2004. Météo-France. 2006. pp. 63, 67. ISBN   2951166583.
  24. Patel, E.R. (December 2007). "Logging of Rare Rosewood and Palisandre (Dalbergia spp.) within Marojejy National Park, Madagascar" (PDF). Madagascar Conservation & Development. 2 (1): 103–112. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 November 2012.
  25. 1 2 "Investigation into the illegal felling, transport and export of precious wood in SAVA region Madagascar" (PDF). Global Witness. August 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  26. "Marojejy National Parks – News Updates". Marojejy National Park. November 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  27. 1 2 Gerety, Rowan Moore (16 December 2009). "Major international banks, shipping companies, and consumers play key role in Madagascar's logging crisis". WildMadagascar.org. Retrieved 29 January 2010.

Related Research Articles

2007–08 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2007–08 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the most active tropical cyclone season since 1993–94, with twelve named tropical cyclones developing in the region. It began on November 15, 2007, and ended on April 30, 2008, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, which ended May 15. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.

2006–07 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2006–07 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was a slightly above average event in tropical cyclone formation which started on November 15, 2006 and ended on April 30, 2007 for most areas and on May 15, 2007 for Mauritius and the Seychelles. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.

2005–06 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2005–06 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the fifth least-active on record. The Météo-France office on the island of Réunion tracked 13 tropical disturbances, of which six intensified into a moderate tropical storm. Three of these systems proceeded to attain tropical cyclone status – reaching 10 minute maximum sustained winds of at least 120 km/h (75 mph). The American-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center also tracked eight storms in the basin. Activity was below normal due to a powerful Walker circulation, which increased convection over the neighboring Australian basin, but suppressed activity in the western Indian Ocean. As a result, most of the storms developed near or entered from the Australian basin, crossing 90°E to enter the South-West Indian Ocean.

2004–05 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2004–05 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was a near average season, despite beginning unusually early on August 30 with the formation of an early-season tropical depression. Météo-France's meteorological office in Réunion (MFR) ultimately monitored 18 tropical disturbances during the season, of which 15 became tropical depressions. Two storms – Arola and Bento – formed in November, and the latter became the most intense November cyclone on record. Bento attained its peak intensity at a low latitude, and weakened before threatening land. Tropical Cyclone Chambo was the only named storm in December. In January, Severe Tropical Storm Daren and Cyclone Ernest existed simultaneously. The latter storm struck southern Madagascar, and five days later, Moderate Tropical Storm Felapi affected the same area; the two storms killed 78 people and left over 32,000 people homeless. At the end of January, Severe Tropical Storm Gerard existed as an unnamed tropical storm for 18 hours due to discrepancies between warning centers.

2002–03 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2002–03 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was one of the longest lasting and the second-most active season in the South-West Indian Ocean. Storms during the season impacted the Mascarene Islands, Seychelles, Madagascar, and countries in southeastern Africa. The season began early when an unnamed tropical storm struck Seychelles in September, becoming the most damaging storm there in 50 years. The next system, Atang, was the first named storm of the season, but was only a tropical depression; it was named due to the threat to an outer island of Mauritius. Atang later struck Tanzania in a climatologically unusual area in November, resulting in unconfirmed deaths of fishermen. The first named storm to reach tropical storm intensity was Boura, which brushed the Mascarene Islands with gusty winds and rainfall. In December, Cyclone Crystal threatened to strike Mauritius but instead veered eastward, and later, Tropical Storm Delfina lasted from late December through early January 2003. Delfina damaged or destroyed thousands of houses in Mozambique and Malawi, killing 54 people.

Cyclone Elita South-West Indian cyclone in 2004

Cyclone Elita was an unusual tropical cyclone that made landfall on Madagascar three times. The fifth named storm of the 2003–04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season, Elita developed in the Mozambique Channel on January 24, 2004. It strengthened to tropical cyclone status before striking northwestern Madagascar on January 28; it was the first storm to strike western Madagascar at that intensity since Cyclone Cynthia in 1991. Elita weakened to tropical depression status while crossing the island, and after exiting into the southwest Indian Ocean, it turned to the west and moved ashore in eastern Madagascar on January 31. After once again crossing the island, the cyclone reached the Mozambique Channel and re-intensified. Elita turned to the southeast to make its final landfall on February 3 along southwestern Madagascar. Two days later, it underwent an extratropical transition; the remnant system moved erratically before dissipating on February 13.

2008–09 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2008–09 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was a slightly above average event in tropical cyclone formation. It began on November 15, 2008, and officially ended on April 30, 2009, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, for which it ended on May 15, 2009. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical cyclones in this basin were monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.

Typhoon Jangmi (2008) Pacific typhoon in 2008

Typhoon Jangmi, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ofel, was the most intense tropical cyclone in the Northwest Pacific Ocean during the 2000s, tied with Nida in 2009. Jangmi, which means rose in Korean, developed into a tropical storm on September 24 and underwent rapid deepening on September 26–27. The typhoon significantly weakened on September 28, owing to crossing Taiwan.

Typhoon Dolphin (2008) Pacific typhoon in 2008

Typhoon Dolphin, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ulysses, was the final named storm and typhoon of the 2008 Pacific typhoon season. The only impact that was reported from Typhoon Dolphin was to the M/Bca Mae Jan, which was a cargo passenger ship which sank on December 14, due to rough seas caused by Typhoon Dolphin. There were 46 people reported dead while seven were reported as missing.

2010–11 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2010–11 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the least active cyclone season on record in the basin, tied with 1982–83, producing only four systems of gale intensity. This was due to cooler than normal water temperatures and the Walker circulation – a broad atmospheric circulation – causing unusually moist conditions in the eastern Indian Ocean and unusually dry conditions in the western Indian Ocean. The basin includes the waters of the ocean south of the equator and west of 90º E to the eastern coast of Africa.

2011–12 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 2011–12 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was a slightly above average event in tropical cyclone formation. It began on November 15, 2011, and ended on April 30, 2012, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, for which it ended on May 15, 2012. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the region; however, Severe Tropical Storm Kuena developed in early June after the season had officially ended. The basin is defined as the area west of 90°E and south of the Equator in the Indian Ocean, which includes the waters around Madagascar westward to the east coast of Africa. Tropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.

1991–92 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 1991–92 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was an average cyclone season in which most storms remained over open waters. At the time, the season lasted from November 15, 1991, to April 30, 1992, although this season began early when three tropical depressions formed before the official start. The second, designated Tropical Depression A2 by the Météo-France office (MFR) on Réunion, passed north of Madagascar on October 16 before weakening. The first named storm was Severe Tropical Storm Alexandra, which developed on December 18 from the monsoon trough; many other storms during the year originated in this manner. Tropical Storm Bryna was the only tropical storm of the season to make landfall, having struck northeastern Madagascar on January 2. The basin was most active in February, when five named storms developed, including Tropical Depression Elizabetha which struck western Madagascar. In early March, Cyclone Harriet entered the basin from the Australian region and was renamed Heather. It intensified to peak winds of 165 km/h (105 mph), making Heather the strongest storm of the season. In April, another cyclone – Jane – crossed from the Australian region and was renamed Irna, which reentered the Australian region on April 19 to end tropical activity within the basin.

1993–94 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the South-West Indian ocean

The 1993–94 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the most active since the start of reliable satellite coverage in 1967, with 15 named storms including one named tropical depression. Activity lasted from mid-November, when Moderate Tropical Storm Alexina formed, until mid-April, when Tropical Cyclone Odille became extratropical. Four tropical cyclones – Daisy, Geralda, Litanne, and Nadia – struck eastern Madagascar, of which Geralda was the costliest and deadliest. With gusts as strong as 350 km/h (220 mph) accompanied by heavy rainfall, the cyclone destroyed more than 40,000 homes and left 356,000 people homeless. Geralda killed 231 people and left more than $10 million in damage. Cyclone Nadia was the second deadliest cyclone, having killed 12 people in northern Madagascar and later severely damaging portions of northeastern Mozambique, killing about 240 people and leaving $20 million in damage in the latter country. In February, Cyclone Hollanda struck Mauritius near peak intensity, causing $135 million in damage and two deaths.

2013–14 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season

The 2013–14 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was an above average event in tropical cyclone formation. The season officially began on July 1, 2013, though the first tropical system designated by Météo-France was a short-lived tropical disturbance that developed on July 8. However, the first named storm was Cyclone Amara in December. Bruce was the first very intense tropical cyclone since Edzani in 2010, which originated from the Australian region. The strongest system of the cyclone season was Hellen, also one of the most intense tropical cyclones over the Mozambique Channel. The season officially ended on June 30, 2014

Cyclone Hary South-West Indian cyclone in 2002

Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Hary was the strongest tropical cyclone in the 2001–02 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season and the strongest storm worldwide in 2002. Developing on March 5 from the monsoon trough, the storm initially moved generally to the west and gradually intensified. With favorable conditions, Hary quickly intensified on March 7, developing an eye and well-defined outflow. After reaching an initial peak, the cyclone briefly weakened due to an eyewall replacement cycle, by which time the storm turned southwestward toward Madagascar. Hary re-intensified and attained peak winds of 220 km/h (140 mph) on March 10 just offshore eastern Madagascar, which made it the first very intense tropical cyclone since 2000.

Cyclone Hudah

Cyclone Hudah was a powerful and destructive tropical cyclone that affected Southeast Africa in April 2000. It was the last in a series of three cyclones that impacted Madagascar during the year. Hudah first developed as a disturbance embedded within the monsoon trough on March 22, within the Australian region cyclone basin. Moving westward as the result of a strong subtropical ridge to its south, the storm quickly intensified, and reached Category 2 cyclone intensity on March 25 before entering the Southwest Indian cyclone basin. For various reasons that remain unknown, the cyclone was only designated a name by the time it had crossed into the area of responsibility of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center in Réunion. Nonetheless, Météo-France (MFR) assigned the name Hudah to the cyclone. An eye formed, and the storm intensified into a tropical cyclone on March 27 well to the southeast of Diego Garcia. On April 1, the MFR upgraded it to a very intense tropical cyclone, estimating peak 10 minute winds of 225 km/h (140 mph). By contrast, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimated 1 minute winds of 235 km/h (145 mph). Cyclone Hudah maintained peak winds until making landfall just southeast of Antalaha, Madagascar on April 2. It weakened greatly over land, but re-attained tropical cyclone status on April 5 after moving over the Mozambique Channel. Hudah reached 10 minute winds of 160 km/h (100 mph) by the time it made landfall on Mozambique near Pebane, Mozambique, on April 8, and dissipated by the next day.

Cyclone Enawo

Intense Tropical Cyclone Enawo was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike Madagascar since Gafilo in 2004, which killed at least 81 people of the country in March 2017. Forming as a moderate tropical storm on 3 March, Enawo initially drifted and intensified slowly. It strengthened into a tropical cyclone on 5 March and further an intense tropical cyclone on 6 March. Enawo made landfall over Sava Region on 7 March just after reaching peak intensity, and it emerged back into the Indian Ocean as a post-tropical depression late on 9 March. Fifteen municipalities were severely affected, in the two most impacted districts of Antalaha and Maroantsetra.

2018–19 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season Period of the cyclone season in the southwest Indian Ocean between 2018 and 2019

The 2018–19 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season is an ongoing and above-average event of the annual cycle of tropical cyclone and subtropical cyclone formation. It officially began on November 15, 2018, and will end on April 30, 2019, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, for which it will end on May 15, 2019. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical and subtropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical and subtropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.

References