Freddy to hit Southern Africa again, likely to break cyclone record

Friday March 10 2023
Mozambique floods

Residents push a car through the floods in Mazive, southern Mozambique, on April 28, 2019.Tropical Storm Freddy is due to hit the coast of Southern Africa again on March 11, 2023. PHOTO | EMIDIO JOSINE | AFP


Tropical Storm Freddy is due to hit the coast of Southern Africa again on March 11, 2023, after killing at least 21 people in Mozambique and Madagascar when it first made a landfall last month.

The storm is on track to break the record of longest-lasting tropical cyclone currently held by a 31-day hurricane in 1994, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

According to the Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Agency, more than 166,000 people were affected when the cyclone swept through the country’s southern region two weeks ago, washing away roads as well as flooding houses and schools.

Read: SA floods leave families homeless

“As many as 565,000 people are at risk this time around in Zambezia, Tete, Sofala and Nampula provinces, with Zambezia expected to be the hardest hit,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

“After making landfall overnight, the storm should weaken as it moves inland by Saturday morning. However, it will still cause heavy rains in Mozambique as well as Southern Malawi,” said French weather forecaster Meteo France, which has a cyclone-monitoring station on the island of La Reunion.

A storm

Satellite image showing a cyclone approaching Mozambique. PHOTO | WORD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION

Freddy has already set the record for highest accumulated cyclone energy, a measure of the storm's strength over time, of any southern hemisphere storm in history, according to the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

WMO said it is likely to set up an investigation after the cyclone dissipate to determine whether it broke the record for longest duration.

"World record or not, Freddy will remain in any case an exceptional phenomenon for the history of the South-West Indian Ocean on many aspects: longevity, distance covered, remarkable maximum intensity, accumulated cyclone energy amount and impact on inhabited lands," said Sebastien Langlade, a cyclone forecaster at the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in La Reunion, in a statement from the WMO.