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    Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone a Threat to Africa

    By By Jim Andrews, Accuweather.com senior meteorologist
    March 01, 2012, 1:40:39 AM EST

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    A tropical cyclone taking shape between Mozambique and Madagascar will pose a growing threat of damaging wind and flooding rain this week.

    Coastal areas, both of Mozambique and Madagascar, could feel the direct impact of a tropical cyclone landfall between Wednesday and Sunday.

    The weather system was already named "Irina" as of Sunday by the Tropical Cyclone Center of Reunion, but the Joint Typhoon Warning Center were not yet referring to it as such.

    As of Tuesday, the weather system was merely a tropical low, straddling the coast of northwestern Madagascar, but an environment favorable for cyclone formation lay off shore.

    Potential tropical cyclone paths would be towards the south and southwest over the Mozambique Channel.

    The speed and extent of storm intensification will hinge upon the system's path, an open-water track favoring substantial strengthening.

    Some forecast tools accessed by AccuWeather.com meteorologists indicate that a strong and potentially dangerous storm will take shape at sea late in the week.

    This tropical cyclone season in the southwestern Indian Ocean has been busy with costly storm aftermaths in both Madagascar and Mozambique.

    Both Funso and Giovanna were intense tropical cyclones having serious wind and rain impacts.

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