Weather tracker: Cheneso restrengthens to bring flooding to Madagascar

Tropical storm upgraded to cyclone status, hitting Indian Ocean island with 75mph winds and intense rainfall

Madagascar continued to be hit by intense rainfall this week, resulting in serious flooding and several landslides. Severe Tropical Storm Cheneso made landfall in the north-east last week, and had weakened as it pushed south-west across the island. But after reaching the warm waters of the Mozambique channel on Monday, Cheneso restrengthened, achieving tropical cyclone status by Wednesday with sustained wind speeds of 75mph, equivalent to a category 1 hurricane.

Unusually, the system remained near-stationary for almost four days, stalling just off the west coast of Madagascar and bringing more than 100mm of rain each day to some coastal areas. Cheneso’s lack of movement resulted in weakening of the system on Thursday, as upwelling of cooler water beneath the storm reduced the energy available to the cyclone, and sustained winds decreased to about 55mph. The storm has now started to accelerate to the south, and begun the process of curving out towards the southern Indian Ocean. Cheneso may briefly restrengthen during this period, before becoming extratropical by Monday.

North America experienced a different kind of storm this week, as a powerful winter storm tracked north-east from Texas towards the Great Lakes and into eastern Canada between Tuesday and Thursday. The system widely brought snow accumulations of 10-20cm, increasing to around 30cm for parts of New England and eastern Canada. The city of Dayton in Ohio broke a 108-year-old daily snowfall record after receiving 5 inches (12.7cm), up from 4.9 inches in 1915. The storm additionally spawned several tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Further snowfall is expected across the northern US in the coming days as a further low pressure system sweeps into the north-west. Meanwhile, as the south-eastern US recovers from the snowfall, it will also have to contend with heavy thunderstorms and potential flash flooding forecast for this Sunday.

And while temperatures accompanying the US snowstorm were far from extreme, China’s northern-most city of Mohe broke its own low temperature record this week. The city recorded -53C on Sunday morning, with a region of high pressure allowing temperatures to drop far below seasonal average. Breaking the existing record from 1969 by 0.7C, this could be the lowest temperature ever recorded in China, though some sources believe the city of Genhe achieved -58C in 2009.

Lauren Herdman (Metdesk)

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