Cyclone Freddy yesterday became the longest-lived named tropical cyclone on record, with more than 30 days, breaking the records set in the Pacific by Typhoon/ Hurricane John in 1994 and by Hurricane Katrina in the Atlantic in 1998, and it has created the second most energy of any cyclone, hurricane or typhoon, just behind Hurricane/Typhoon Joke in 2006.
While Cyclone Freddy started forming on January 30, it only reached the energy levels needed to get a name on February 6, when it was still near Australia, and then traversed the entire Indian Ocean, but taking into account time zones it exceeded the 28,75 days of Typhoon John early yesterday and the 21,5 days of Katrina in the Atlantic in 1998.
So besides being number one in the world on age, it is also number one in the Indian Ocean.
The cyclone, which at times has fallen to severe tropical storm and tropical storm, which allows it to keep its name, as well as an overland depression, is now rebuilding its energy levels near Madagascar and is expected to reach Mozambique for its second pass into continental Africa today or tomorrow and is likely to bring rain and storms to eastern Zimbabwe and the Mashonaland provinces over the weekend.
While it has lost power since its first pass, it still has that 600km swirling circle of cloud and while it can clear weather outside that zone it will dump rain on areas that are reached by the swirling circle.
So far as the total number of units of accumulated cyclone energy created in its long life, Cyclone Freddy reached 73,1 units by Wednesday, second only to Joke’s 85 units, according to American atmosphere scientists.
Freddy has attracted attention round the world as it continues shattering the records for the longest lasting tropical cyclone.
These are called cyclones in the Indian Ocean, hurricanes in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, and Typhoons in the central and western Pacific. But basically they are all the same, building up from a small minority of ocean depressions.
The official confirmation of the longevity record as a named cyclone will take time, as the World Meteorological Organisation will have to decide whether the odd days spent as an overland tropical depression should count.
Normally a cyclone keeps its name as storm, but not at lower levels. So it is still five days off the total number of total named storm day.
But among records Freddy has rebuilt itself in periods of rapid intensification six times, beating the previous record of four.