Freddy Is Now the Longest-Lived Cyclone on Record

31-day-old Indian Ocean storm is on course to make landfall for a third time
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2023 3:04 PM CST
Cyclone Freddy Just Won't Die
The damaged roof of a school lies in the playground in Vilanculos, Mozambique, on Feb. 24. 2023.   (AP Photo, File)

Much like Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, Cyclone Freddy keeps coming back when people think the threat has subsided. The storm in the Indian Ocean is now the longest-lived tropical cyclone on record, having tied with 1994's Hurricane-Typhoon John at 31 days, and is on course to hit Mozambique for the second time, the Washington Post reports. Freddy formed near northern Australia on Feb. 6 and killed at least 21 people when it slammed into Madagascar and Mozambique two weeks ago. Authorities say that on its first visit, it destroyed 28,000 homes in the Mozambican capital Maputo and surrounding provinces.

Freddy has rapidly intensified no fewer than six times, twice as many times as any previous Southern Hemisphere storm, the Post reports. The Northern Hemisphere record is four. The storm has also set the world record for accumulated cyclone energy, a measure of a storm's strength over time, reports the AP. The storm peaked at Category 5 intensity on Feb. 18 and 19. It's currently at Category 2 strength, and forecasters expect it to be a Category 3 storm when it wallops Mozambique again on Friday.

The Weather Network describes Freddy's unusual path as "more akin to pinball than a tropical cyclone." After crossing the entire Indian Ocean, it moved across Madagascar, hit Mozambique, moved back across the Mozambique Channel to douse Madagascar again, and is now set to make landfall for the third time. Freddy's future path is unclear, but forecasters believe it is likely to linger for at least another week. (Read more cyclone stories.)

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