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Storm Freddy on track to be the longest-lasting cyclone in history: WMO

Tropical cyclone Freddy, which has been raging across the Indian Ocean for more than a month, could become the longest-lasting cyclone in recorded history, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on March 10. The current record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone is held by a hurricane that raged for 31 days in 1994.

As of March 10, tropical storm Freddy had already been a named cyclone for 33 days, prompting questions about whether it had set a new record. The WMO is setting up an expert committee to evaluate this, but it will take time to come to a definitive conclusion.

Freddy has been traveling more than 10,000 kilometers and has generated accumulated cyclone energy, which is an index used to measure the amount of wind energy. According to the WMO, it has generated as much accumulated cyclone energy as an average North Atlantic hurricane season. This is one storm.

Despite the fact that the cyclone has weakened somewhat, it is still dangerous, and the WMO warns that it may pick up more energy and intensify quickly in the next 12 hours. It is also a slow-moving cyclone, which means that it is hovering quite close to the coast and picking up more moisture, resulting in heavier rainfall.

The impact of the cyclone has been felt particularly in Madagascar, where it has caused significant damage. Soldiers are helping civilians set up temporary shelters, and residents are speaking to NGO workers. People are cooking outside as rain pours down, while others are sheltering under verandas. Several buildings have also been damaged, with roofs ripped off and fences destroyed.

The storm has also caused disruptions in nearby Mauritius, where water has been spilling over cordoned-off hotel porches littered with branches and sand. Meanwhile, in the Indian Ocean, the animation shows the height of sea waves produced by Freddy’s path through the ocean, as predicted until February 24, 2023.

As tropical storm Freddy continues to rage across the Indian Ocean, people across the region will be hoping that it does not set any more records and that it subsides without causing too much further damage.

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