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The Climate of Mauritius and general precautions for the cyclone season
Mauritius enjoys a sub-tropical climate where temperatures vary between 25°C and 35°C with regular winds blowing from the South-East.
Temperatures are highest during the humid season from November to April, which corresponds to summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and are colder during the dry season which lasts from May to October and corresponds to winter in the Southern hemisphere.
In summer, temperatures can climb up to 35° on the coast, bearable with slight wind coming from the sea in the west and stronger wind blowing from the east. The temperature on the central plateau is milder and rarely goes above 30°C in summer.
The length of the daytime is 14 hours. Sunrise is usually between 5h30 and 6h00 and sunset is between 18h30 and 19h00. The heat accumulated in the day often remains present at night.
There are important temperature variations between day and night during winter. Temperatures are usually between 22° and 27° with a cloudy sky. However, as soon as the sun sets, temperatures rapidly drop to 15° on the coasts and up to 9° in the central plateau. The days are usually shorter, between 11 and 12 hours. Sunrise in winter is usually at around 06h30 and sunset is at around 18h00.
There is often light rain on the coastal regions; however the central plateau often experiences heavier rain.
About Cyclones in Mauritius
Between January and March, the higher temperatures, the higher amount of humidity and the unstable atmosphere can sometimes give rise to cyclones. In order for a cyclone to form, the temperature of the ocean must be higher than 26° throughout a sufficient depth and at about 28° or 29° on the surface.
This high temperature produces a high amount of evaporation and humidity transfers from the ocean to the atmosphere. The state of the atmosphere and the circulation of wind currents are the last conditions that are required for the development of a cyclone.
Each year, cyclones are named alphabetically at the start of the cyclonic season.Weather Information hotline: 302 60 70 Cyclone information hotline: 96 Website: http://metservice.intnet.mu
Cyclonic alerts in Mauritius
During the cyclone season, several cyclones can form in the Indian Ocean. They can be of varying intensity, ranging from tropical storms to intense tropical cyclones. The local meteorological services, the media, websites as well as an automated phone line will keep the population informed about the cyclone. When the trajectory of the cyclone becomes a threat to the country and the winds and rain become stronger, the government will issue cyclonic alerts of different classes which can evolve rapidly.
Class 1: winds ranging from 118 to 153 kilometres/hour
Class 2: winds ranging from 154 to 177 kilometres/ hour
Class 3: winds ranging from 178 to 209 kilometres/ hour
Class 4: winds ranging from 210 to 249 kilometres/ hour
Class 5: winds over 249 kilometres/ hour
During the different cyclone alerts, some precautions and actions must be taken: Ensure that your house is sturdy enough and repair windows, doors and all other vulnerable parts.
- Cut any tree branches which are likely to damage phone, electricity lines or your house.
- Clear your property of any loose objects and materials which are likely to cause injury and damage during strong winds.
- Secure your boats.
- Get to know where the nearest refugee centres are.
- Prepare emergency kits consisting of: flashlights, fresh batteries, AM/FM radio, candles, and matches. Water containers and fresh water reserves. Canned food, can opener, stove with enough gas, rice, bread, biscuits, flour, etc. A first aid kit and essential medicines. Clean clothes. Tool kit for emergency repairs.
During a class 1 cyclone warning:
- Ensure that your emergency kit is ready and complete.
- Keep yourselves informed about the cyclone through radio and TV.
- Secure windows and doors with shutters or shields.
During a class 2 cyclone warning:
- Check that your emergency kit contains all essential items
- Continue to monitor the progression of the cyclone
- Ensure that your boats and watercraft are secure or out of the water.
- Do not go to beaches and keep out of the lagoon.
- Store a sufficient amount of food.
- Get your children out of school.
- Secure TV antennae and parabolic dishes.
During a class 3 cyclone warning:
- Complete all preparatory measures to secure your house and clear your property of things that might get carried away by the wind.
- Avoid areas prone to strong winds, waves and flooding.
- Shelter domestic animals.
- Secure personal vehicles and ensure you have a sufficient amount of gasoline to use after the cyclone has passed.
- People living in insecure dwellings should seek shelter in the nearest refugee centres with their emergency kit, food and clothes.
- Avoid going outside.
- Continue to monitor the progression of the cyclone on the radio.
During a class 4 cyclone warning:
- People should stay indoors and seek shelter in the safest part of the house. Electrical appliances should be disconnected from the mains.
- If your house starts to suffer important damages, protect yourselves with mattresses, blankets or rugs.
During the passage of the ‘EYE’ of the cyclone over Mauritius:
- Do not assume that cyclonic conditions are over. The calm period will not last and strong winds will blow in the opposite direction once the eye has passed.
After the cyclone:
- Do not leave your house or shelter until all cyclone warnings have been lifted by the authorities.
- Beware of fallen power lines, damaged buildings, structures, trees and flooded water courses.
- Do not consume fallen fruits.
- Boil water before consumption.
- Clean your property and drain out stagnant water to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes and diseases.
The most violent cyclones recently recorded: Hugo in 1989, Hollanda in 1994 and Dina in 2002.