15 February 2011

MADAGASCAR is currently being hit by heavy rains, and the situation is expected to get worse over the next few days as tropical cyclone Bingiza approaches. For the last few days Bingiza has been churning a few hundred kilometres offshore, with just the outer fringes of the storm reaching the island. These outer bands have already brought a lot of rain but the centre of the storm has not reached Madagascar yet.

According to Accuweather, the eye of the storm has sustained winds of nearly 160kph and gusts of 195kph, the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane. The storm is still expected to strengthen as it moves westwards.

The full force of Bingiza was expected to strike on Monday, near the town of Mananara Avaratra in the northeast. As the cyclone moves over land, it will weaken rapidly. The winds will ease but it will continue to give heavy rains for several days. The worst of the rain is forecast to stay to the north of the capital, Antananarivo but the eastern region of Analanjirofo will see 300mm rain, which is bound to cause flooding.