INDIAN OCEAN CYCLONE SHUTS DOWN AIR TRAFFIC
(Posted 17th January 2018)
Tropical cyclone ‘Berguitta‘, which is presently racing across the Indian Ocean, has led to the cancellation of flights to and from Mauritius including domestic services to and from the island of Rodrigues.
Home carrier Air Mauritius is issuing news updates on their website www.airmauritius.com for passengers traveling to and from the island.
(Air Mauritius is the national airline of Mauritius currently operating a fleet of two A350-900, four A340-300, two A340-300E, two A330-200, two A319-100 and three ATR72-500. Air Mauritius flies to twenty-four destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Indian Ocean region)
Air Seychelles has cancelled their services HM48 and HM49 tomorrow, 18th of January and other airlines are following suit to avoid any weather related incidents. Reunion’s home airline Air Austral too has cancelled all flights from St. Denis’ Roland Garros International Airport to Mauritius and Rodrigues for today, 17th of January and tomorrow 18th of January.
Air traffic to other Indian Ocean islands in the path of the storm too may be affected so any passengers heading into the region are well advised to check with their travel agents or respective airlines about any potential delays of their booked flights or outright cancellations.
The storm is currently over open water in the Indian Ocean, with sustained winds of 140 kilometres per hour and wave heights of more than seven metres.
But forecasts suggest tropical cyclone Berguitta will track inland toward the southwest this week, hitting Mauritius on Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.
As Berguitta continues to feed off the warm waters of Indian Ocean, it will intensify into the equivalent of a Category 3 system, with sustained winds of 185km/h.
On Tuesday, the cyclone was upgraded to a category two storm – with further intensification expected this week.
BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker has warned that Berguitta could be the worst storm to hit Mauritius since the 1990s.
He said: “Mauritius and Reunion in the Indian Ocean are bracing themselves for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Berguitta and it could be the most destructive storm since 2002 and possibly since the mid-nineties. It looks like the core of the storm is likely to track right across the islands bringing the damaging winds. There’s already been a lot of heavy rain in the area and the weather is only going to get worse through the course of Wednesday and into Thursday."