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Image by Mtotec

We have a new named storm in the Indian Ocean, with invest 95S off the north east of Madagascar being upgraded to a Moderate Tropical Storm this morning in the 06z update from Meteo France. The storm has taken on the name Enawo, and is the 5th named storm of the season for the basin. Enawo has formed just 3 weeks after the development of Dineo, which made landfall near Inhambane, Mozambique and brought heavy rains and strong winds to the northern parts of South Africa.

Moderate tropical storm Enawo is currently located near 12.8 S, 57.0 E – to the north of Mauritius. The global forecast models seem to be aggressive with the strengthening of Enawo and Meteo France have issued a forecast of winds up to 100kt sustained at the 120th hour, which would put the storm in the Intense Tropical Cyclone category. It is worth noting that the models are very split on the path that Enawo will be taking with the GFS forecasting the storm to remain just off the eastern shore of Madagascar (but close enough to have an effect), while the Euro model is showing the storm making a direct landfall on the north eastern coast of Madagascar, in as little as 80 hours time.


Euro model forecast


GFS Forecast

Track Forecasts

Meteo France looks to have a forecast track that is inline with that the GFS output is showing. When looking at the forecast synoptics of the GFS, it appears that a ridge has the potential to develop to the south of the storm which may cause a delay in movement speed around at hour 90-100. This blocking ridge, should it materialize could steer Enawo just west enough for it to make landfall in Madagascar, or it could cause the storm to slow down and dump massive amounts of rain on the country. A strong cold front is then expected to pass to the south of Madagascar and weaken the ridge, which would then allow for the steering currents to resume in a southerly direction, meaning Enawo could move out to sea to the south.

In general there seems to be little consensus with the models on the track of the storm and it is certainly worth keeping a close eye on for residents of Madagascar, specifically around the eastern coastal areas.


Current official track forecast from Meteo France


With regards to intensity, the storm has been organizing quickly over the past 24 hours and the forecast seems to suggest it will continue its strengthening over the next few days. The storm is expected to be upgraded to a tropical cyclone within 60 hours according to Meteo France. Upper conditions appear conducive for development. The storm is likely to become stronger if it follows the GFS forecast track instead of the Euro, as the Euro’s quicker landfall time would give it less time to intensify. Though at this stage it is still too early to call for what the storm will do.

Satellite Appearance

Even though the storm is still young and only categorized as a moderate tropical storm, the satellite imagery for the storm is excellent. The moist environment along with low shear means that the storm is in a good position for strengthening. A large rotation can be noted on the satellite imagery, along with a massive band of moisture to the east that will feed into the system sets Enawo up to possible be quite large in size too, which seems to be suggested in the rainfall distribution in the GFS model forecast too.

Forecast from Meteo France at 06z 3/3/2017

12H: 03/03/2017 18 UTC: 13.2 S / 55.9 E, VENT MAX=040 KT, MODERATE TROPICAL STORM
24H: 04/03/2017 06 UTC: 13.6 S / 55.7 E, VENT MAX=045 KT, MODERATE TROPICAL STORM
36H: 04/03/2017 18 UTC: 13.9 S / 55.8 E, VENT MAX=050 KT, STRONG TROPICAL STORM
48H: 05/03/2017 06 UTC: 14.2 S / 55.5 E, VENT MAX=060 KT, STRONG TROPICAL STORM
60H: 05/03/2017 18 UTC: 14.7 S / 54.6 E, VENT MAX=070 KT, TROPICAL CYCLONE
72H: 06/03/2017 06 UTC: 15.0 S / 53.6 E, VENT MAX=080 KT, TROPICAL CYCLONE
96H: 07/03/2017 06 UTC: 16.0 S / 51.4 E, VENT MAX=095 KT, INTENSE TROPICAL CYCLONE
120H: 08/03/2017 06 UTC: 18.4 S / 50.0 E, VENT MAX=100 KT, INTENSE TROPICAL CYCLONE

You can also view the JTWC’s in depth discussion and analysis here. Note that the JTWC uses 1-min averages, hence the higher values.

Please Note: While this storm is certainly worth watching and has the potential to bring heavy rains or extremely strong winds to Madagascar, there is no certainty in this. And official forecasts are still calling for the storm to recurve before approaching the island. We will do our best to bring you updates on the progress of this system and alert you to any changes in development. But always remember to use official forecast sites in cases of emergencies.



Related topics enawo, madagascar, tropical cyclone, tropical storm
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