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Planet Earth

A Cat 4 off Madagascar

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMarch 14, 2007 7:58 PM


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Cyclone Indlala has intensified at "greater than climatological rate"--i.e., damn fast--and is now a Category 4 storm on its way to slam the northeastern coast of Madagascar (after further intensifying along the way). I have been looking at the data on this storm from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin, which uses a technology called the Advanced Dvorak Technique to estimate storm intensity from satellite images. On their latest update they had the storm's pressure down to 919.5 millibars and the wind speed up to 124.6 knots. (JTWC only says 115 knots.) The cutoff for Category 4 is 115 knots, and for Category 5, 135 knots. So, if this storm continues to outstrip expectations and further intensify, it is not inconceivable that it could become the first Category 5 of the year. That's not that likely, though. Otherwise, Indlala will be our third--or, depending on whether or not you count Cyclone George, fourth--Category 4 or higher hurricane of 2007....and, unfortunately, seems likely to cause some very serious impacts in Madagascar....

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