Eight people have died after Cyclone Freddy hit Madagascar for the second time, according to authorities, who also noted that the storm was getting stronger as it moved into Mozambique.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) of the U.N. predicted that Freddy, a tropical cyclone that first developed off the coast of northwest Australia in the first week of February, was on track to break all previous records for duration.
The hurricane returned to batter the island nation of Madagascar after taking an unexpected path, causing over 40,000 people to be affected and over 14,000 to be displaced, according to the government of Madagascar.
The cyclone’s path was defined by meteorologists as having a “rare” loop track; this phenomenon was last observed in 1998.
After Freddy struck for the first time in late February, bringing with him powerful winds and torrential rains, at least 15 people have perished in Madagascar.
One person remains missing and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, the administration announced Tuesday.
With wind gusts of up to 180 kph on Tuesday afternoon, the storm was situated in the Mozambique Channel around 250 km (150 miles) northwest of the coastal city of Toliara.
As the storm developed but moved away from the Indian Ocean island towards Mozambique, where it is anticipated to make a second impact later this week, rains in the southwest of Madagascar were decreasing.
At least 10 people were killed during Freddy’s previous visit to the southern African country, according to the United Nations.
Freddy “does appear to be a new record holder for ‘longest-lasting’ recorded tropical cyclone.” said the WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes rapporteur Prof Randall Cerveny on Tuesday..
“But we are continuing to monitor the situation,” he added.
Madagascar is typically struck several times during the annual November-April storm season.
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