Expert comment: 'zombie storm’ Freddy could come back
09 March 2023
Mozambique is once again set to be hit by Tropical Cyclone Freddy - but this might not be the last time it emerges.
The rare ‘zombie storm’ has already hit the Southern African nation once with heavy rainfall and floods, killing four people according to reports.
Now officially the longest-lived storm ever recorded having spun over the Indian Ocean for 32 days, a storms expert at the University of Reading said Freddy could come back to life once again even after it hits Mozambique for second time.
Dr Liz Stephens, a hydrologist based at the University of Reading, said: “Tropical Cyclone Freddy is now the longest-lived storm ever recorded, having formed off the coast of Australia back in early February and still going strong. Having navigated the whole Indian Ocean it ripped across Madagascar and caused severe flooding across Southern Mozambique and into Zimbabwe.
“Usually, this interaction with the land would tear apart a storm, but Freddy re-emerged in the Mozambique channel. This is a zombie storm that came back to life, impacted southern Madagascar again, and is now threatening central Mozambique and southern Malawi with new heavy rainfall and floods.
“Freddy will be making its second landfall in Mozambique at a time when the tide is at its highest, causing concern that the combination of high river and sea levels will impact coastal cities with the type of compound flooding seen in 2019 from the devastating Cyclone Idai.
“Effective early warning systems have limited the loss of life so far, but the repeated landfalls across different parts of the region are posing a real challenge for effective disaster management and emergency response. And this may not be the end of zombie Freddy; there's still a chance it could once again re-emerge in the Mozambique channel."