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Holy Active Indian Ocean Batman!

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Each year the South West Indian Ocean gets tropical disturbances but the 2012 season has really started with a bang. Since January alone there have been 6 names storms (one which was named in late December but was still active in the start of January) which have formed and 4 of these storms have had a direct effect on the African continent. Dando will be remembered by many South Africans as the storm that’s remnants brought severe flooding to the Limpopo province, forcing closure of roads including the closing of several areas in the Kruger National Park. Funso was a large and dangerous system which was present in the Mozambique Channel and for a long time threatened to be a catastrophic landfalling cyclone, but in the end moved out to sea safely out of the channel.

There is currently another active storm Tropical Depression 10 which has been around for a few days, but currently it is not forecast to become a named storm, though it may be able to, which would give us 7 named storms in 2012 thus far. Earlier forecasts of Tropical Depression 10 had the storm reaching tropical cyclone status but that appears unlikely now based on the latest official forecasts.

Looking ahead on the long range models it seems that the South West Indian Ocean is going to continue pumping out storms! There are about another 2 or 3 storms that form on the GFS in the next 14 days, some of them looking potentially hazardous too. I will be monitoring the models closely for any new tropical cyclone possibilities, but we are now heading into the peak and we may well see some more big ones.

The two interesting points this year so far is how close to ‘home’ these systems have been forming. Typically the vast majority of these storms form far to the east of Madagascar and slip south before approaching Africa, but this year (especially if the GFS is to materialize) there have been tracks far more west than we typically see, along with the formation taking places further west. Let’s wait and see what happens as the season goes on…

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