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Madagascar braces for severe tropical storm ‘Cheneso’, but SA is safe – for now

Durban – Residents living in the north-eastern parts of Madagascar are bracing for the first severe tropical storm of the year. However, the South African Weather Service (Saws) said despite the storm intensifying on Wednesday night, the system is not expected to affect South Africa.

“Given current guidance from numeric weather prediction models (NWP), this system is not expected to affect South Africa in the coming days. It is also important to mention that, as with any tropical marine system, there is much uncertainty regarding the future movement of the system, beyond a few days ahead in time,” Saws said.

It added that notwithstanding this uncertainty, there is the possibility that ‘Cheneso’ may enter the Mozambique Channel at some stage.

Saws said the system is currently rated as a severe tropical storm, with an estimated surface pressure of 991 hPa in the core of the system.

“At 8am ‘Cheneso’ was positioned at 14.6 South 050.5 east, moving southwestwards at 17 km/h, just off the north-eastern coastline of Madagascar, in the province of Sava, and is expected to make landfall imminently, between the coastal towns of Antalaha and Sambava,” the forecaster said.

Saws explained that Cheneso is the third named tropical system to form in the South-West Indian Ocean domain during the current 2022 to 2023 austral summer season.

Picture: SAWS

“It will be recalled that such systems are named alphabetically, according to a dedicated regional list developed annually. The first two systems were Moderate Tropical Storms ‘Ashley’ and ‘Balita’, which occurred during September and October 2022, respectively. Interestingly, an uncommon event occurred during the current 2022 to 2023 tropical cyclone season,” Saws said.

Saws further explained that there was an additional “named” system, namely Severe Tropical Storm ‘Darian’, which crossed into the South-West Indian Ocean domain at 90 East, on December 21, 2022.

The forecaster said ‘Darian’ had previously been identified and named by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) while it was in South-East Indian Ocean waters, east of 90 East. Following convention, the name ‘Darian’ was preserved when the system crossed over into the South-West Indian Ocean domain.


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