The Island of Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean southwest of the continent Africa, because of this location the climate of Madagascar is affected by the winds that originate from the Indian Ocean anticyclone. The anticyclone is a center for high atmospheric pressure that seasonally changes its position over the ocean. Madagascar has two seasons: a humid rainy season from November to April, and a cooler, dry season from May to October. However, this climate varies from coast to coast due to the difference in elevation and exposure to winds. The east coast has a subequatorial or tropical climate and is more exposed to the trade winds which contributes to its heavy rainfall, averaging as much as 3.5 meters annually! The east coast is very hot and humid and, in the rainy season, is prone to destructive hurricanes coming from the Mascarene Islands in the east. The central part of Madagascar also has a high elevation but does not get as much rain as the east coast. It is a lot drier and cooler because of its higher elevation. However in the dry season it is prone to major thunderstorms and lightning is a serious hazard. Antananarivo is located in the central highlands; it receives about half as much rain as the east coast. The dry season in the highlands is pleasant and sunny. Many consider the blue skies of the central highlands the most beautiful around the world.


picture from a tropical rainforest in madagascar

The west coast is the driest area of the island because the trade winds lose their humidity by the time the reach the western region. The south and southwest region of Madagascar is semi-desert. In places such as Toliara as little as a half a meter of rain falls annually. The driest regions in Madagascar are located in the most southern parts of the island.

Madagascar is prone to many natural disasters because of its location in the Indian Ocean. Cyclones are quite prevalent on the island. One of the most famous was Cyclone Geralda. It struck Madagascar February, 2, 1994, and lasted two whole days! It was the worst cyclone to hit the island since 1927. Not only did Cyclone Geralda completely destroy the islands infrastructure, it killed seventy people and left nearly five hundred thousand families homeless. The damage is comparable to forty-five million American Dollars. Europe and the US helped with the reconstruction of Madagascar contributing close to six million to help them reconstruct. You can find records of the transaction at the library of congress website:

Geralda 31 jan 1994 1256Z

An aerial view of hurricane Geralda, February, 2, 1994.