Cape Town got a taste of winter in it’s purest
Tropical Cyclone Enawo underwent rapid intensification today, ramping itself up to a 100kt Intense Tropical Cyclone, with landfall almost a certainty at this point. This brings the storm into the ‘Category 4 Tropical Cyclone’ category, when using the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale format. With sustained windspeeds of 115mph (185km/h), Enawo has the potential to make landfall with winds in excess of 200km/h should the strengthening continue. Pressures fell rapidly with the storm today and it’s currently sitting on under 940hpa. Usually when pressure drops, the winds take a few hours to match the deepening.
The satellite appearance of the cyclone has been excellent throughout the day, with a very clear and defined eye visible. Around the eye is an impressive core of convection, with a massive circulation. In fact, including the cirrus outflow to the north the storm’s size is about the same as that of Madagascar. Enawo is moving WSW at 6kt, which is fairly slowly. The slow speed of the storm means that there is an increased risk for damage to Madagascar. Some forecasts are calling for over 300mm of rain in the first 24 hours of landfall, which won’t let up quickly as the storm then moves down the country, dumping masses of rain on majority of the country.
With these slow moving storms, especially those with a large circulation, storm surge becomes an important and dangerous factor in its landfall. Storm surge will likely be felt hours ahead of the storm’s western eyewall making landfall, and could bring with it damage to coastal areas.
What To Expect
Currently, with the forecast track it appears that the town at the most risk from Enawo would be Antalaha. Antalaha is a small town to the immediate north of the forecast track. It is a beach side town with a population of 34 000 people. There are numerous small buildings along the ocean front, and it seems almost inevitable that they would feel the brunt of Enawo’s initial landfall. More densely populated areas in central Madagascar would be at risk primarily of heavy rains over the next coming days, but eyes should certainly first be on Antalaha.
Meteo-France is currently forecast for Enawo to maintain its strength between now and landfall and continue to predict a 100kt storm on landfall. Though at this point it seems very possible that we may see a stronger storm by the morning.
NASA’s satellite imagery also picked up on some absolutely outstanding rainfall estimates from the eastern side of the storm’s core. Their systems picked up clouds capable of producing more than 220mm per hour rainfall rates. Such rainfall would cause massive flash flooding for anyone who happens to see these clouds moving over them. A lot can still happen in 12 hours when it comes to intensity of rainfall, especially on the eastern side of he storm. However, it is definitely a noteworthy sighting.
We’ll be watching closely and wishing the best for Madagascan residents who are about to be affected by the storm.