* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Tropical cyclone Hellen is forecast to strike Madagascar as a very intense tropical cyclone at about 12:00 GMT on 31 March. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 15.1 S, 45.1 E. Hellen is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 222 km/h (138 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.
According to the Saffir-Simpson damage scale the potential property damage and flooding from a storm of Hellen's strength (category 4) at landfall includes: Storm surge generally 4.0-5.5 metres (13-18 feet) above normal. Curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the centre of the storm. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 3 metres (10 feet) above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 10 km (6 miles). There is also the potential for flooding further inland due to heavy rain.
The information above is provided for guidance only and should not be used to make life or death decisions or decisions relating to property. Anyone in the region who is concerned for their personal safety or property should contact their official national weather agency or warning centre for advice.
This alert is provided by Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) which is sponsored by Crawford&Company and University College London (UCL).