Environment

Rodrigues Island without power, roads impassable as Tropical Cyclone “Joaninha” moves over


The center of Tropical Cyclone “Joaninha” passed very close to Rodrigues Island, Southwest Indian Ocean on March 26 and 27, 2019, producing strong southerly winds, heavy rain and large swells. This is the 13th named storm and 9th intense tropical cyclone of the record-breaking 2018/19 Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclone season.

At 12:00 UTC on March 26, Joaninha’s center was located about 159 km (99 miles) E of Port Mathurin, Mauritius. The system had maximum sustained winds near 213 km/h (132 mph) and was moving at 15 km/h (9.3 mph) through an area of warm waters which continued to fuel it.

At closest, it passed just 80 km (50 miles) from the island, bringing prolonged destructive winds and heavy rainfall.

Tropical Cyclone “Joaninha” on March 26, 2019. Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS

Port Mathurin had wind gusts over 100 km/h (62 mph) for more than 33 hours, with the highest gust of 161 km/h (100 mph).

According to media reports, 408 people have been registered in shelters while strong winds cut electricity throughout the island and made roads impassable.

The island received more than 200 mm (7.87 inches) of rain and more is expected until March 28.

Tropical Cyclone “Gelena,” similar in size and strength to Joaninha, passed close to the island in February 2019, destroying 90% of its electricity grid.

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone “Joaninha” on March 26, 2019. Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS

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