Factbox: Why is Cyclone Freddy a record storm?

JOHANNESBURG, March 14 (Reuters) – Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit southern African shores for the second time this weekend, killing more than 220 people in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar.

The month-long storm broke at least one record and could break two more, meteorologists said.

As climate change causes warmer oceans, thermal energy from the water’s surface fuels stronger storms.

Here are some of the main reasons why Freddy is remarkable.


Freddy holds the record for most accumulated hurricane energy (ACE), a measure based on a storm’s wind strength over its lifetime, of any storm in the Southern Hemisphere and possibly the whole world.

Freddy generated about as much accumulated hurricane energy as an average North Atlantic hurricane season, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Last week it held second place for the most accumulated cyclonic energy of any storm since 1980, with the record held by Hurricane and Typhoon Ioke in 2006.

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Some estimates show that Freddy has since broken that record, with 86 ACE to Ioke’s 85 ACE.


Freddy may have broken the record for longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The current record is held by a 31-day hurricane in 1994.

Freddy first developed on February 6 and made its second landfall on the coast of Mozambique on March 11, 34 days later.

However, experts have yet to consider several factors, such as the fact that it weakened below tropical cyclone status at times during that time, to determine whether it broke the record, the agency said. World Meteorological Organization.


Freddy appears to have broken the world record for the most episodes of rapid intensification, defined as an increase in wind speed of 35 miles per hour over a 24-hour period.

Freddy has experienced seven separate cycles of rapid intensification, according to satellite estimates, the World Meteorological Organization said. The previous record was four, reached by multiple hurricanes.

The World Meteorological Organization will set up a committee of experts to examine this dossier, as well as the others, he said.


Freddy developed off the coast of Australia, crossed the entire southern Indian Ocean and traveled more than 8,000 km (4,970 miles) to make landfall in Madagascar and Mozambique in late February.

It then looped and hit the coast of Mozambique again two weeks later, before moving inland towards Malawi.

“No other tropical cyclone observed in this part of the world has taken such a path across the Indian Ocean in the past two decades,” the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report.

Only four storms have crossed the southern Indian Ocean from east to west, the last in 2000, he said.

Reporting by Nellie Peyton Editing by Alexander Winning and Angus MacSwan

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