Freddy could break tropical cyclone record: UN

GENEVA: Freddy is on track to break the record as the longest-enduring tropical cyclone, the United Nations said on Friday, as the killer storm was set to hit Mozambique again.

“Freddy continues on his incredible and dangerous journey,” Clare Nullis, spokeswoman for the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, told reporters in Geneva.

Freddy developed off the north Australian coast and became a named storm on February 6.

The current record is held by Hurricane/Typhoon John, which lasted 31 days in 1994, the WMO said.

Freddy has been a named tropical cyclone for 33 days.

Once it has dissipated, a WMO panel of experts on climate extremes will review all the data to determine if a new record has indeed been set – a process that could take months.

Freddy has regularly weakened below tropical storm status, such as when it first lingered over Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

“We obviously have to address in our assessment whether this is a problem,” said Randall Cerveny, WMO Rapporteur on weather and climate extremes.

Freddy traversed the entire southern Indian Ocean and landed in Madagascar on February 21, crossing the island before reaching Mozambique on February 24.

It swept across Mozambique and Zimbabwe, bringing heavy rains and flooding.

It then looped back towards the coast, absorbing moisture and strength from the warm waters, encountering Madagascar again and now returning towards Mozambique.

Freddy is expected to land in the northern province of Zambezia late Friday or possibly Saturday morning.

“There will be very destructive winds, a very dangerous storm surge on landfall and extreme rainfall over large areas, not only in Mozambique but also in north-eastern Zimbabwe, south-eastern Zambia and in Malawi,” Nullis said.

Expected precipitation totals are around 200-300 millimeters (7.9-11), but locally it could be more than 400-500 mm over the landing area.

“This is more than double the usual monthly rainfall and is on top of the existing rainfall caused by Freddy the first time,” Nullis said.

The last cyclones to cross the entire southern Indian Ocean were tropical cyclones Leon-Eline and Hudah in 2000. – AFP Freddy could break tropical cyclone record: UN

Russell Falcon

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