10th Anniversary of Cyclone Gafilo’s landfall


Cyclone Gafilo near peak intensity on March 6, 2004

     On March 7, 2004, Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Gafilo made landfall on the island of Madagascar in the southern Indian Ocean.  The day before landfall, the storm reached peak intensity when its ten-minute winds were estimated from satellite to reach 125 knots (230 km/hr), making it the most intense cyclone on record for the southwest Indian Ocean basin.


JTWC track (Wikipedia)

     Roaring across Madagascar, the cyclone left a swath of destruction of about $250 million in damage and over 240 dead or missing.  Moving slowly, Gafilo dumped up to 10 inches of rain along its path, which added to the flooding left by Cyclone Elita that struck the island weeks before.  The storm weakened over the island but was still a coherent cyclone when it reached the Mozambique Channel.  It then recurved and struck the western shore of Madagascar, inflicting more damage and crossed back over the island to the Indian Ocean.