Environment

Tropical Cyclone “Berguitta” hits Mauritius and La Reunion with 800 mm of rain in 24 hours


Tropical Cyclone “Berguitta” produced huge amounts of rain and sustained winds of over 120 km/h (75 mph) as its center passed over Mauritius and extremely close to La Reunion on January 18, 2018. Some areas received more than 800 mm (31.5 inches) of rain within 24 hours. One person in La Reunion is missing.

Berguitta’s center moved over southeastern part of Mauritius around 05:00 UTC on January 18, with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/h (75 mph), causing agricultural damage, flash floods and cutting off water and power supply.

There was no major structural damage reported and no loss of lives in Mauritius, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said, adding that the population had been adequately sensitized on the threat.

Fire and Rescue Service said their staff responded to around 150 calls for assistance, most of them for flooding in Chebel, Beau-Bassin, Rose-Hill, Quatre-Bornes, Vacoas, Floreal, Curepipe and Port Louis. At least 15 people were rescued from floodwaters in Eau-Coulee, La Marie and Bambous.

Tropical Cyclone “Berguitta” JTWC forecast track at 09:00 UTC on January 19, 2018

The cyclone passed just east of La Reunion a couple of hours later, bringing more than 800 mm (31.5 inches) of rain within 24 hours.

Severe flooding was reported in Saint-Leu, Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre and Cilaos. According to the initial assessment, a total of 150 emergency interventions were performed, 208 people were evacuated and 153 accommodated in evacuation centers.

Some 5 000 people were left without power supply, and almost half an island without water, according to FloodList.

One man is missing in L’Étang-Salé after floodwaters swept away his vehicle. As of early January 19, he is still missing.

Featured image: Effects of Tropical Cyclone “Berguitta” on January 18, 2018 – La Reunion. Credit: MichelPayetPhotoGraphy



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