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Sweeping Mozambique, Freddy has become the most energetic cyclone on record on Earth


Cyclone Freddy, a hurricane-force storm that has hit Mozambique for the second time, is cementing its status as the most relentless tropical cyclone ever observed. On March 7, it became the longest-lived tropical cyclone ever recorded. Now it has broken the record for the most energetic storm on the planet.

The inexhaustible storm, which first developed on February 6 between Western Australia and Indonesia, has already carved a 5,500-mile path toward southeast Africa. It struck Madagascar on February 19 and Mozambique for the first time on February 24. Having crossed the Mozambique Channel three separate times, Freddy is now in the midst of his second landfall in Mozambique.

On Sunday, Freddy was centered near the mouth of the Zambezi River in Mozambique and had winds of about 55 mph. The storm crossed the coast on Saturday as the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane before gradually losing strength over land.

The storm was blamed for 27 deaths in Madagascar and Mozambique when it struck the two countries last month. Amid its second landfall in Mozambique this weekend, at least one person has died, Reuters reportsbut the full extent of the cyclone’s death toll is still unknown because “communications and power supplies in the storm area were cut off.”

Freddy’s record longevity and escalation episodes

Freddy reached Category 5 strength twice over the open southern Indian Ocean in mid-February, and has been named for 34 days. That dwarfs the previous world record holder, Hurricane John, which spent 31 days as a named Pacific storm between August 11 and September 13, 1994.

In addition, Freddy has quickly stepped up an unprecedented Seven times, compared to the previous record, which was four times. Rapid intensification describes a jump of 35 mph or more in a storm’s winds in 24 hours or less. While most major hurricanes and storms rapidly intensify at least once, anything more than three times in a storm’s life cycle is exceptional.

The most energetic tropical cyclone in the world

After breaking records for lasting so long and intensifying so often, Freddy managed to become the most powerful on Earth. energetic ever-seen storm after reaching a key threshold this weekend.

The amount of energy a storm generates is calculated through a metric known as ACE, or accumulated cyclonic energy. It reflects both the intensity and the duration of a storm. Storms collect that energy from warm ocean waters and expend it through their winds and generating precipitation.

As of Saturday night, Freddy had counted nearly 86 ACE units, surpassing the record of 85.26 set by Hurricane and Typhoon Ioke between August and September 2006. That’s more ACE than 100 of the last 172 seasons of hurricanes in the Atlantic, not individual storms. , but whole seasons‘ by value of ACE.

While Freddy has held records for rapid intensification, longevity, and dispersed energy, he hasn’t spent his entire life at hurricane force. It weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall in Madagascar on February 21, and a depression after its first landfall in Mozambique days later.

Freddy will probably do it finally dissipate late Monday or early Tuesday as it unloads its heavy rains on northern and central Mozambique. Some places could see about 25 inches.

While the mid-level circulation left behind by Freddy’s remnants may return southeast over the Mozambique Channel as late as Wednesday, the shredded tropical innards don’t appear to have any chance of coming back to life.

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

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