Tropical cyclone Giovanna pummels Madagascar

A satellite image of tropical cyclone Giovanna on February 13, 2012, pictured on NASA's website.

Three people have died so far today since a tropical cyclone dubbed Giovanna made landfall on Madagascar, according to the Associated Press. The news agency also said 70 famililes, including 45 in the capital Antananarivo, have seen their homes washed away.

The category four storm hit the island's eastern shores overnight, fueling winds of up to 120 mph, which ripped up trees and caused power outages.

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Cyclone Giovanna made landfall near the eastern port city of Toamasina, the BBC reported, where schools and offices were closed.

An local official, Alain Mahavimbina, told Reuters that one person died in Brickaville “after an electricity pole fell on her."

In the capital, Antananarivo, motorists were warned to stay off the roads amid the winds and torrential rains.

The BBC reported that the eye of the storm passed through Antananarivo, which continued to experience strong winds for hours afterwards.

While emergency crews were out clearing up debris in the capital, the extent of the damage in Toamasina was not immediately known due to damage to telephone lines.

In 1994, a cyclone in Madagascar, which is prone to tropical storms, killed 200 people and displaced a further 40,000.

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