Intense Tropical Cyclone CILIDA

With Intense Tropical Cyclone Cilida in the vicinity, many people keep wondering about the timing of the eventuality of a class 3 warning in Mauritius. It’s human nature to be curious, for obvious reasons. As soon as a class 1 warning is issued everybody wants to know when a class 2 will be issued and so on and so forth.

No warning is issued out of the blue or at the whims and caprices of the meteorologists. The Director of the Met Services, who is the sole decision-maker during cyclone episodes, has to make sure, after careful consideration of the situation based on scientific observations, analyses and prognoses with his team of professionals and other numerical data and analyses, that all conditions are met before issuing a warning.

Conditions apply. These include, but are not confined only to, the probability of risks of winds reaching 120 km/h, their timing, the direction and speed of movement of the cyclone, its proximity with the island, its development, and the time interval in terms of daylight before the forecast advent of cyclonic winds (of the order of 120 km/h and more).

A class 3 warning is issued “so as to allow, as far as practicable, 6 hours of daylight before the occurrence of gusts of 120 km/h”. According to the last cyclone bulletin issued at 10 pm, the weather is expected to deteriorate significantly during the night of Saturday 22, and cyclonic winds may be experienced on Sunday. In such circumstances, the latest timing of issuing a class 3 warning would be 1 pm, which meets the “6-hour-daylight” condition. And by extrapolation, class 4 might be warranted in the early hours of Sunday provided gusts of the order of 120 km/h have been recorded at several places and are expected to continue. It’s not what you feel to be the wind speed, but what is actually recorded by meteorological instruments at various stations including automatic stations around the island.

But that’s just my opinion based on existing protocols. I just wanted to provide a simplified appreciation of the intricacies of the warning system. The meteorological service is the sole authority.

With Intense Tropical Cyclone Cilida in the vicinity, many people keep wondering about the timing of the eventuality of a class 3 warning in Mauritius. It’s human nature to be curious, for obvious reasons. As soon as a class 1 warning is issued everybody wants to know when a class 2 will be issued and so on and so forth.

No warning is issued out of the blue or at the whims and caprices of the meteorologists. The Director of the Met Services, who is the sole decision-maker during cyclone episodes, has to make sure, after careful consideration of the situation based on scientific observations, analyses and prognoses with his team of professionals and other numerical data and analyses, that all conditions are met before issuing a warning.

Conditions apply. These include, but are not confined only to, the probability of risks of winds reaching 120 km/h, their timing, the direction and speed of movement of the cyclone, its proximity with the island, its development, and the time interval in terms of daylight before the forecast advent of cyclonic winds (of the order of 120 km/h and more).

A class 3 warning is issued “so as to allow, as far as practicable, 6 hours of daylight before the occurrence of gusts of 120 km/h”. According to the last cyclone bulletin issued at 10 pm, the weather is expected to deteriorate significantly during the night of Saturday 22, and cyclonic winds may be experienced on Sunday. In such circumstances, the latest timing of issuing a class 3 warning would be 1 pm on Saturday, which meets the “6-hour-daylight” condition. And by extrapolation, class 4 might be warranted in the early hours of Sunday provided gusts of the order of 120 km/h have been recorded at several places and are expected to continue. It’s not what you feel to be the wind speed, but what is actually recorded by meteorological instruments at various stations including automatic stations around the island.

But that’s just my opinion based on existing protocols. I just wanted to provide a simplified appreciation of the intricacies of the warning system. The meteorological service is the sole authority.

With Intense Tropical Cyclone Cilida in the vicinity, many people keep wondering about the timing of the eventuality of a class 3 warning in Mauritius. It’s human nature to be curious, for obvious reasons. As soon as a class 1 warning is issued everybody wants to know when a class 2 will be issued and so on and so forth.

No warning is issued out of the blue or at the whims and caprices of the meteorologists. The Director of the Met Services, who is the sole decision-maker during cyclone episodes, has to make sure, after careful consideration of the situation based on scientific observations, analyses and prognoses with his team of professionals and other numerical data and analyses, that all conditions are met before issuing a warning.

Conditions apply. These include, but are not confined only to, the probability of risks of winds reaching 120 km/h, their timing, the direction and speed of movement of the cyclone, its proximity with the island, its development, and the time interval in terms of daylight before the forecast advent of cyclonic winds (of the order of 120 km/h and more).

A class 3 warning is issued “so as to allow, as far as practicable, 6 hours of daylight before the occurrence of gusts of 120 km/h”. According to the last cyclone bulletin issued at 10 pm, the weather is expected to deteriorate significantly during the night of Saturday 22, and cyclonic winds may be experienced on Sunday. In such circumstances, the latest timing of issuing a class 3 warning would be 1 pm, which meets the “6-hour-daylight” condition. And by extrapolation, class 4 might be warranted in the early hours of Sunday provided gusts of the order of 120 km/h have been recorded at several places and are expected to continue. It’s not what you feel to be the wind speed, but what is actually recorded by meteorological instruments at various stations including automatic stations around the island.

But that’s just my opinion based on existing protocols. I just wanted to provide a simplified appreciation of the intricacies of the warning system. The meteorological service is the sole authority.

Side information:

The meteorological services around the world (not only in Mauritius) operates under protocols set by the World Meteorological Organisation, WMO. Thus observations and analyses are effected and updated every three hours starting from 0000 GMT Midnight, which is 4 am here. The main observation hours are 4 am, 10 am, 4 pm and 10 pm local time. The intermediate ones are 7 am, 1 pm, 7 pm and 1 am local time. This doesn’t mean that officers are twiddling their thumbs in between. It’s a 24-hour service and watch, where there is a host of data and observations from world-wide network to be interpreted and related to the local context. It’s also interesting to note that the world over the met personnel is doing the same thing at the same time to bring the required information to the people. Of course in certain cases hourly or even half-hourly observations are done to meet the demand of the particular situation. So there are procedures by which the met service has to adhere. Also a warning doesn’t mean that the weather should be bad as soon as it is issued. It heralds the imminence of threat from a particular Meteorological phenomenon. While it might be easy to become wise after the event, few are those who would wish to be on the hot seat of the director.

Note: This article was published on the author’s facebook page on Friday 21 December 2018. It is reproduced here for the benefit of this blog’s followers.

A retired government officer, former trade unionist and occupational safety & health management consultant based in Rodrigues Islands, Alfa King (real name: Amanoola Khayrattee) is a bilingual contributor to This Week News (http://thisweeknews.info). He has been editor of trade union newsletter and has contributed articles for various in-house magazines, publications, and the local press. He blogs since 2007, and when he is not reading or surfing on the internet, he is hiking over an 8-km-daily routine.
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