Jesse Ferrell

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Super Tropical Cylone Giovanna Vs. Madagascar

February 13, 2012; 9:59 AM ET

Extreme Tropical Cyclone Giovanna is a beautiful, concentric storm on satellite this morning at 125 knots, Category 4 strength. Forecasts maxing it out at 130 knots, a strong Category 4 storm, before it scores a direct hit on the island nation of Madagascar, something we describe as "potentially dangerous / extreme danger" in our news article, which talks of 10-20 inches of rain and winds over 100 mph raking the coast. Below are some satellite images of the storm via the NAVY website this morning.

Although admittedly historical records are shabby in this region, if we look at prior storms in NOAA's database, we see four Category 3 storms struck more than 10 years ago. The most recent was Ivan in 2008 hit as a Category 3 far north of this week's expected impact area. WikiPedia describes its impact: "In Sainte Marie Island, the worst hit area, 90% of the infastructure was destroyed. On mainland Madegascar, over 400,000 acres of crops were destroyed. In all, over 330,000 people were left homeless, and the storm caused 93 deaths."

Geralda, in 1994, is the closest track to this week's forecast. During that storm, according to WikiPedia, "it destroyed 80% of the city's seaport Toamasina... 40,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. Lines of communications, railways, roads and bridges were brought down by the extreme force of the storm."

If indeed Giovanna makes landfall as a Category 4 storm, damage will exceed either Ivan or Geralda, depending on how populous the area is where it hits. You'll likely see scenes of massive damage, flooding and reports of dozens, if not hundreds, of deaths later this week.

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Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.