The International Space Station has captured the eye of the tropical cyclone Freddy from above and it looks dangerous and angry as it barrels towards Madagascar.
The cyclone, packing gusts of up to 120 km per hour posed a “direct threat” to Mauritius as the country has grounded flights and shut its stock exchange. The cyclone is approaching the islands in the Indian Ocean as forecasters predict heavy rains, floods, and landslides in four regions of Madagascar.
The video captured from the Space Station shows the eye of a tropical cyclone, which is located over the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar. The cyclone is likely to hit Madagascar on February 21.
Authorities on the island of Madagascar – about 1,130 km west of Mauritius towards the coast of Africa – said they were expecting a direct hit by Tuesday evening, between Mahanoro in the east and Manakara in the southeast.
The cyclone has been described as an “intense tropical cyclone” and a “particularly powerful and compact tropical system, generating extreme winds near its center.”
The United Nations regional weather observation center in Reunion said Freddy, which formed two weeks ago near Indonesia, was expected to make landfall early next week with the equivalent strength of a formidable Category 5 hurricane.
The mainland African coastal nations of Mozambique and South Africa, alongside Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, were on high alert for heavy rains and thunderstorms from Freddy in the coming week.
The Indian Ocean islands and Mozambique on Africa’s coast have been hit by a string of deadly storms and cyclones that have forced thousands to flee, destroyed buildings, and ruined crops. In January, tropical storm Cheneso killed 33 people in Madagascar.