Jim Andrews

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Tropical Cyclone Felleng East of Madagascar

January 29, 2013; 10:20 AM ET

Tropical Cyclone Felleng, the strongest Indian Ocean cyclone since early December, is gathering strength east of northern Madagascar.

The powerful storm was forecast to be of significant indirect impact to both Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands this week. Moreover, as of Tuesday, it was too early to rule out a direct landfall, either in eastern Madagascar or in Mascarene island of La Reunion.

Tropical Cyclone Felleng was beginning to show an eye at the time of this visible satellite shot (1130 UTC Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Madagascar to west; La Reunion and Mauritius to south.

Tuesday afternoon, tropical cyclone forecasters in La Reunion estimated highest sustained winds of 85 knots, or about 155 km/h, in Felleng. The cyclone center was pegged about 475 miles (765 km) north of Reunion and 605 miles (970 km) northeast of Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Storm movement was towards the west-southwest at 9 knots, or 17 km/h.

Forecasters of the Tropical Cyclone Center of La Reunion were calling for a southward turn east of Madagascar through Wednesday, thereby implying a skirt of the coast.

Highest sustained winds of at least 105 knots, or 195 km/h, were forecast by the Cyclone Center to happen on Thursday.

Even stronger top winds of 115 knots, or more than 210 km/h, were forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At the same time, the eye of Felleng was forecast to track far enough, at least 200 miles (32 km), to the west of Reunion to spare the France-held island any widespread severe winds.

However, torrential rain with wind squalls were indicated by numerical forecast models to be a late-week threat for both La Reunion and Mauritius.

Strongest indirect impacts to Madagascar were likely to include localized torrential rain and high east coast surf.

Official forecasters as well as numerical forecast models were predicting that Felleng would sweep southward to the open Southern Ocean by the start of next week.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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