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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Bongani skirting northern Madagascar

Tropical cyclone Bongani formed in the southern Indian Ocean a few days ago. Earlier forecasts indicated that the storm will pass north of Madagascar and follow into the coast of Africa making landfall as a category 1 storm. Instead, the storm track is now curving towards the south and passing through the Mozambique Channel.

Bongani se rapproche de l'archipel des Comores (Zinfos 974)

La tempête tropicale modérée Bongani se rapproche inéluctablement du Nord malgache et de l'archipel des Comores. A 4 heures locales ce matin, elle se dirigeait vers l'Ouest-Sud-Ouest à la vitesse de 16 km/h et présentait une trajectoire de plus en plus incurvée vers l'Ouest.

Selon le dernier bulletin du CMRS, la tempête modérée était centrée par les points 9.2 Sud et 52.0 Est à 1.345 kilomètres au Nord-Nord-Ouest des côtes réunionnaises. Quant à la pression, elle était estimée à 999 hectopascals avec des rafales avoisinant les 91 km/h.

English translation courtesy of Google Translate


Bongani was expected to cross the northern point of the island of Madagascar early today near the city of Anteranana. The cyclone will then pass through the Comoros Islands along the western coast of Madagascar. Based on the clockwise circulation of southern hemisphere storms, this should mean that the heaviest rain and wind could potentially affect Madagascar's coast.

Tropical storm Bongani (Reuters Alert Net)
Tropical storm Bongani is forecast to strike Madagascar at about 12:00 GMT on 25 November. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 11.8 S, 49.6 E. Bongani is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 64 km/h (40 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.
Madagascar is no stranger to tropical cyclones. Typically, their season begins in December so this storm is making its appearance a bit earlier than normal, although as I pointed out in an earlier post, the potential for cyclones exists year round.

MADAGASCAR: The cyclones are coming (IRIN Africa)
The concept of preparedness is not new to Madagascar. The island lies in the main path of storms crossing the Western Indian Ocean and is battered by cyclones every year; five have struck it in the last two years, affecting over 463,000 people.

Cyclone season usually starts in December and runs through April, hitting some of the poorest regions in the country - around 70 percent of Madagascar's people live on less than a dollar a day and coping mechanisms are quickly overwhelmed.

The focus had started shifting from a reactive approach - limited to response and recovery after an event - to a more comprehensive approach centred on preparedness.

"We can see the payoff of prepositioning stocks ahead of the cyclone season. This has made it possible to help victims immediately," IRIN quoted Colonel Jean Rakotomalala, then Executive Secretary of the disaster response agency, BNGRC, who stressed the importance of recent investments in disaster risk reduction in January 2009.

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