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Mozambique-Powerful Cyclone Slams Mozambique (February 23, 2007)

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Satellite view of Cyclone Favio on its approach to the African mainland. NASA.
Fierce Category 4 Cyclone Favio slammed already waterlogged Mozambique with peak winds of up to 144 mph (230 km/h). The powerful storm destroyed houses, knocked down trees and power poles, and triggered a new round of floods. At least three people died in the town of Vilankulo, which was 80 percent destroyed.

The cyclone is the most violent to strike the country since Cyclone Eline in 2000. The storm made the situation even worse in the Zambezi River valley, where recent floods killed about 40 people and left 120,000 others homeless. Favio also dumped heavy rain over the Zambezi's already-swollen tributaries in Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

Earlier in the week, Favio brushed past the southern tip of Madagascar. The storm's eye missed the island, but the storm still brought heavy rain, huge waves, and floods to the southern coast. The cyclone gained strength swirling over the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel separating Madagascar and the African mainland.

The months of December through April are the peak of cyclone season in the southern Indian Ocean. As more humid air rises from the ocean, winds rotate faster and faster around a low pressure area at a cyclone's center. The storms are carried westward towards the African coast by prevailing winds.

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