Tropical Cyclone Anais is estimated to have a maximum wind of 115 mph as of early this morning, which is equivalent to a category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.
The southwestern Indian Ocean is prone to tropical cyclones but what makes Anais so rare is that it is occurring in October, which is early springtime in the southern Hemisphere.
The peak period for tropical events in this part of the world is normally during our winter months of January-March.
Anais is forecast to move southwest in the general direction of Madagascar for the next five days and weaken as it moves into cooler waters and unfavorable winds.
We rarely hear much about the southern Indian Ocean storms as the area has little land and the storms mostly stay at sea.
Occasionally Madagascar or the island nations of Mauritius and Reunion will take a hit, and more rarely a storm will reach mainland Africa.
Forecast responsibility for this region is through the French weather service, Meteo France, located in La Reunion to the east of Madagascar.
The countries in the Indian Ocean simply refer to these storms as Tropical Cyclones, regardless of intensity.
Tropical Cyclone Anais is the same thing as a hurricane in the Atlantic or typhoon in the western Pacific.
However, note that it rotates the opposite direction, clockwise, because it is in the southern Hemisphere.
To illustrate how unusual this event is, Anais is like having a Category 3 hurricane in the Caribbean in April.
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