Freddy: The cyclone that lasted greater than a month

Image supply, EPA

Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique are reeling from the results of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

More than 400 individuals have been killed and 1000’s of houses destroyed.

Freddy has been one of many longest-lived storms ever recorded within the Southern Hemisphere, if not the entire world.

Southern Africa is usually battered by cyclones and tropical storms coming in from the Indian Ocean however Freddy was totally different for a number of causes.

How lengthy has Freddy lasted?

Freddy has lastly been declared over by the French Meteorological service. The storm was named by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on 4 February and and at last got here to an finish on 14 March.

It was robust sufficient to be formally categorised as a tropical system for not less than 36 days.

However, we have to anticipate affirmation by the World Meteorological Organization earlier than we are able to say whether or not it’s formally the longest-lasting recorded storm.

What is fascinating about Freddy is how far it has travelled. It started its journey off the coast of north-west Australia, crossing the Southern Indian Ocean from east to west, certainly one of solely 4 storms in historical past to take action.

How highly effective was Storm Freddy?

The traditional method of measuring the power of a storm is by its wind pace. At its strongest Freddy was the equal of a Category 5 hurricane with winds in extra of 160mph (260 km/h).

Fortunately, it was most intense over open waters.

It was additionally the primary storm within the Southern Hemisphere to bear 4 separate rounds of fast intensification – this is a rise within the most sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of not less than 30 knots in simply 24 hours.

Since landfall, rainfall quantities have exceeded 600mm (24 inches) in some areas with torrential rains resulting in mudslides in weak areas.

With hurricane-force winds, the storm additionally introduced giant storm surges because it saved re-energising over the nice and cozy waters of the Mozambique Channel.

What is the distinction between a Cyclone and a tropical storm?

A Tropical Cyclone within the Indian Ocean is stronger than a tropical storm.

Freddy first hit Mozambique as a reasonable tropical storm. Its second landfall in Mozambique was as a Tropical Cyclone and by the point it reached Malawi, it had weakened to tropical storm power – though that it the place it brought on most destruction.

What will Storm Freddy do subsequent?

Freddy has now damaged up, however its remnants are nonetheless inflicting rain throughout elements of Mozambique and Malawi which might worsen the flood scenario.

What is the distinction between a cyclone, a storm and a hurricane?

They are all large storms however how they’re outlined is dependent upon the place they’re fashioned. In the Atlantic and East Pacific they change into hurricanes, within the West Pacific they’re typhoons and within the Indian Ocean and close to Australia they’re referred to as cyclones.

Was Storm Freddy attributable to local weather change?

We’ve seen such a storm beforehand when we have now seen a robust or persistent La Nina climate sample within the Indian Ocean. The Bureau of Meteorology has simply declared the tip of a collection of back-to-back La Nina occasions which started in September 2020.

In phrases of local weather change, it is a well-known indisputable fact that hotter air can maintain extra water so the quantity of rain which fell, particularly throughout its time over land, is more likely to have been enhanced by local weather change.

Warmer waters within the oceans maintain extra power, so it follows that these storms might nicely change into extra energetic with time and be capable of unleash much more rainfall.

Rapid intensification is extra doubtless with greater sea temperatures and so the truth that this occurred a number of instances might have been partly resulting from local weather change. The gradual motion of the storm at instances, particularly simply earlier than the second landfall in Mozambique, is also associated.

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