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Chedza (Southern Indian Ocean)
January 22, 2015


Flooding in Madagascar Caused by Tropical Storm Chedza

A tropical disturbance that had already swamped southern Africa with rain strengthened into a tropical storm as it passed over the Mozambique Channel on January 15, 2015. When tropical storm Chedza passed over Madagascar the next day, it brought lashing winds and heavy rains that killed at least 13 people, destroyed or damaged more than 3,000 homes, and displaced 9,500 people.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of flooding along the Tsiribihina River on January 20, 2015. For comparison, the left image shows the same area on December 3, 2014. In the right image, brown, sediment-rich floodwater spills across the river delta and into the Mozambique Channel.

Several settlements along the Tsiribihina River—including Belo Tsiribihina and Masoarivo—appear to be at least partially flooded. The same weather system produced widespread flooding in Mozambique and Malawi. For a broader view of flooding on the Tsiribihina River, you can view imagery captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on the Worldview browser.


NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Adam Voiland.

Landsat 8 - OLI

[image-50]Jan. 16, 2015 - NASA Spots Newborn Tropical Storm Chedza Making Landfall

Tropical Storm Chedza rapidly intensified from a tropical low pressure area to a tropical storm during the morning hours on January 16 near Madagascar's southwestern coast. NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured an image of the newborn storm's quick landfall.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard Aqua took a visible picture of Chedza on Jan. 16 at 11:20 UTC (6:20 a.m. EST). At that time, Chedza's center was along Madagascar's southwestern coast, and the eastern half of the storm was over the island nation while the western half was over the Mozambique Channel. The MODIS image also showed what appeared to be a developing eye.

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Tropical Storm Chedza's maximum sustained winds were near 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.6 kph). Chedza was centered near 20.0 south latitude and 44.2 east longitude, about 650 nautical miles (748 miles/1,204 km) west of St. Denis, La Reunion Island. Chedza was moving to the east-southeast at 6 knots (6.9 mph/11.1 kph) and is expected to continue moving in that general direction. 

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) looked at animated multispectral satellite imagery today, January 16 and noted that it showed "a continued consolidation of the system with a more defined low-level circulation center with deep convective banding (of thunderstorms) wrapping in as the system is beginning to make landfall across western Madagascar."

JTWC forecasts take Chedza on an easterly track over Madagascar and back into the Southern Indian Ocean where it is expected to re-intensify and pass south of La Reunion Island early next week.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

On Jan. 16 at 11:20 UTC NASA's Aqua satellite captured this picture of Tropical Storm Chedza making landfall in southwestern Madagascar.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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Before and After Images: 
Image Credit: 
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey
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Page Last Updated: January 22nd, 2015
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner