At over a month old, Tropical Cyclone Freddy has become the longest-lived and most energetic tropical cyclone ever recorded, as it made a second landfall across Mozambique and Malawi with sustained winds of nearly 100 miles per hour after rapidly intensifying for a record-smashing seventh time. The storm first developed on February 6 and took a 5,500-mile route across the Indian Ocean traveling over Madagascar before it made landfall in Mozambique on February 24, then headed back out to Madagascar, and then again turned back to Mozambique and made landfall again this past weekend.
Mozambique has suffered more than a year’s worth of rain in the past month, raising concerns that rivers could burst from their banks and trigger huge floods. Some of the impacted areas could get more than 25 inches of rain. Scientists have found climate change is making tropical storms stronger as climate pollution warms oceans, evaporating seawater and transferring heat energy back into the atmosphere, which generates stronger storms more prone to rapid intensification.
More than 171,000 people were impacted after the storm, and more than half a million were at risk of being displaced in Mozambique. In Zambezia province alone, over 22,000 people have tried to find refuge in temporary accommodation centers. Malawai President Lazarus Chakwera declared a State of Disaster as torrid winds and rain destroyed homes, businesses, and lives. The complete toll of the destruction and casualties is not yet known as officials work to get people to safety and begin the clean up process.