Madagascar braces for life-threatening flooding from Eliakim into Monday

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 18, 2018, 11:08:21 AM EDT

Lives and property will be in severe danger across southeastern Madagascar as a potent tropical cyclone unloads torrential rain into Monday.

Madagascar will once again be the target of a tropical system, named Eliakim, following impacts from Ava and Dumazile earlier this year.

"Residents should not let their guard down, despite Eliakim remaining weaker than both Ava and Dumazile," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

"Eliakim is still expected to unload excessive rainfall that can trigger widespread and life-threatening flooding and mudslides across a large swath of the country," she said.

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Locations being put on high alert for the major flooding include Matanga and Manakara.

Residents should heed any evacuation orders. Eliakim can unload 125-250 mm (5-10 inches) of rain along the southeast coast of Madagascar. Locally higher amounts are possible, especially in the mountains.

That amount of rain can easily submerge communities and turn streams and rivers into raging waterways. Roads and bridges can be damaged, threatening to cut off remote locations. Crops can be flooded and damaged.

"Wind gusts of 65-95 km/h (40-60 mph) can damage trees and weaker structures near the track of the cyclone," Pydynowski said. "Prolonged power outages may also occur."

A turn to the south and southeast has taken the storm back off the coast.

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While the threat for wind damage will become more sporadic as Eliakim moves away from the coast, flooding rain will continue to spread southward along the eastern coast.

Rough seas will be a danger to anyone with marine interests from eastern Madagascar to La Réunion into early this week.

While La Réunion will dodge the worst of storm, the southeast turn will bring an increasingly gusty wind and downpours across the island into Monday.

Eliakim is expected to race away from Madagascar and La Réunion early in the week.

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