Tropical Storm "Dumazile" formed very close to Madagascar at 00:00 UTC on March 3, 2018 as the 5th named storm of the 2017/18 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season and the 11th named storm of the 2017/18 Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season. On average, the southern hemisphere has 19 named storms between July 1 and March 2.
This system will pass very close to Madagascar over the next couple of days while strengthening to Category 3 hurricane equivalent (possibly 4). Strong winds and heavy rain are expected, as well as dangerous seas along the eastern shores of the island.
At 12:00 UTC on March 3, the center of Tropical Cyclone "Dumazile" was located 210 km (130 miles) E of Antalaha, Madagascar and 650 km (404 miles) NNW of St Denis. Its maximum sustained winds were 83 km/h (52 mph) with gusts to 102 km/h (63 mph).
Upper level analysis shows favorable conditions for continued development, JTWC noted. Sea surface temperatures and vertical wind shear are favorable and there is good radial outflow.
The combination of these factors will allow Dumazile to rapidly intensify to 157 km/h (98 mph) by 00:00 UTC, February 5 and reach a peak intensity of 204 km/h (126 mph) by 12:00 UTC, February 5.
Multi-model consensus takes Dumazile southwestward over the next 36 hours and then southeastward.
La Reunion should start feeling Dumazile's impacts late Sunday through Tuesday. Although landfall is not expected, residents are invited to follow its development through official channels and be ready for possible tropical cyclone winds and heavy rain.
Featured image: Tropical Cyclone "Dumazile" at 14:00 UTC, March 3, 2018. Credit: WISC/SSEC