Portal:Tropical cyclones/Featured article/Cyclone Elita

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Track map of Cyclone Elita

Cyclone Elita was an unusual tropical cyclone that made landfall on Madagascar three times. The fifth named storm of the 2003–04 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season, Elita developed on January 24 in the Mozambique Channel. It strengthened to become a tropical cyclone before striking northwestern Madagascar on January 28. Elita weakened to tropical depression status while crossing the island, and after exiting into the southwest Indian Ocean it turned to the west and moved ashore for a second time on January 31 in eastern Madagascar. After crossing the island, the cyclone intensified again after reaching the Mozambique Channel, and Elita turned to the southeast to make its final landfall on February 3 along southwestern Madagascar. By February 5 it underwent extratropical transition, and the remnants of Elita moved erratically before dissipating on February 13.

Elita dropped heavy rainfall of over 200 mm (8 inches), which damaged or destroyed thousands of houses in Madagascar. Over 50,000 people were left homeless, primarily in Mahajanga and Toliara provinces. Flooding from the storm damaged or destroyed more than 450 km² (170 sq mi) of agricultural land, including important crops for food. Across the island, the cyclone caused at least 33 deaths, with its impact further compounded by Cyclone Gafilo about two months later. Elsewhere, the cyclone brought rainfall and damage to Mozambique and Malawi, while its outer circulation produced rough seas and strong winds in Seychelles, Mauritius, and Réunion.

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