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Tropical Cyclone Giovanna
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Tropical Cyclone Giovanna

February 16, 2012
Tropical Cyclone Giovanna came ashore in eastern Madagascar as a powerful storm, ripping roofs off houses, downing trees, and cutting power to the capital city of Antananarivo, news reports said. At least one person had been killed. As predicted, the storm weakened after making landfall. By the afternoon of February 14, 2012, wind speeds had dropped to 35 knots (65 kilometers per hour), according to the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). This was down from 125 knots (230 kilometers per hour) the day before.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on February 14, 2012. Having made landfall, the storm appears less organized than it did the previous day, but storm clouds almost completely hide the island of Madagascar.

Consistent with earlier predictions, the JTWC forecast that Giovanna would continue moving west, and quickly reorganize over the Mozambique Channel. But the forecast changed between February 13 and 14. Earlier forecasts had called for Giovanna to make landfall in Mozambique, but by February 14, the projected storm track showed Giovanna curving back toward the southeast before reaching the Mozambique coast.

Madagascar is no stranger to powerful cyclones. In 2008, Cyclone Ivan killed dozens and left thousands homeless. Likewise, warm waters of the Mozambique Channel have sustained strong storms. Just weeks before Giovanna arrived in the area, Cyclone Funso hovered over the channel for days.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.


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