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Tropical Storm Enawo Gains Strength, Takes Aim At Madagascar

Tropical Storm Enawo Gains Strength, Takes Aim At Madagascar

Despite some struggles last night, tropical storm Enawo has maintained itself over the past 36 hours, with maximum winds currently at 45kt, and is located to the east of northern Madagascar. The storm’s satellite appearance continues to impress with a very wide circulation and impressive inflow pattern. The eastern quad of the storm is a bit void of convection, but a solid CDO (central dense overcast) located over the center of the storm should be enough to sustain it as it slowly intensifies.

Forecast Track

As we discussed yesterday in our initial article on the storm, there was a wide spread in the models and confidence on a forecast track seemed low, and likely to change prior to landfall. The GFS model was forecasting recurve just east of Madagascar, while the Euro (ECMWF) model was forecasting a landfall for the island. At that time Meteo France was seemingly preferring the GFS outlook and their forecast track was in line with the models, bringing the storm just offshore before recurving it out out to sea.

meteo-france-forecast-enawo

Today however, the meteorological agency seems to be siding more with the ECMWF, with their forecast track taking Enawo onto the north eastern shore of Madagascar, and then moves the storm through the central area of the country, moving south.

The latest run of the GFS (12z) brings the storm right onto the shoreline of Madagascar, but then begins recurving whilst along the coast. A slow down in motion is often present when the storm’s steering pattern changes, and should this occur and should the storm end up slowed down or idle while on the coast, it could cause massive flooding problems, where the risk is already very high.

There remains little consensus in the models for the storm only being a few days out, and it will be interesting to see how the global models change, and whether the GFS will align with the Euro or visa versa.

Both the models suggest that landfall, should it occur would likely be within 60 to 66 hours of this publication.

gfs-forecast-enawo

Intensity

Little has changed in terms of the intensity forecast from both the global models and the meteorological agencies. The GFS suggests strengthening shall continue as the storm moves WSW. This aligns with Meteo France’s forecast for the storm to continue steady strengthening over the next few days. Yesterday’s forecast had the storm at 45kt today, which materialized. The agency then called for winds to increase to 50kt by 18z today. The next advisory should be out fairly shortly and we can see if the storm has strengthened to Severe Tropical Storm status.

The official forecast is currently for 90kt at 60 hours, which would be the expected landfalling windspeed. Larger storms tend to take longer to strengthen, as their energy is spread over a wider area, which leads to the effects being more widespread, but requires more fuel in terms of energy, to sustain higher wind speeds.

Closing Thoughts

This storm is going to prove tricky for the meteorological agencies, as they are torn between two models which are offering quite different outcomes. There is a fine line one must tread where it is imperative to warn the public about the risks they are facing, while at the same time being careful not to lead them onto the idea of an immanent emergency, which can easily lead to a case of ‘the boy who cried wolf’. Needless to say, we can rest easy knowing that our thoughts are not meant as official forecasts and shouldn’t be used in cases of emergencies.

We’ll continue to monitor Ewano and see if we have some form of model convergence over the next few output runs. Once the models start to align, it will become easier to call the shots.

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