Significant weather changes have been occurring since I came here. The first week and the first day I took over my duty there was a cyclone threat; this week another storm crossed the region. Fortunately they didn’t hit the island. But they did bring some rain at least.
Ivan was the first storm to target Rodrigues. It was formed in the waters around St Brandon and moved south-eastwards as from Thursday 7. Storm warnings were issued the next day and were maintained until the Sunday morning when Ivan started moving away.
As it approached it weakened a bit and decelerated to a point of quasi-stationary around 400 kilometers to the north of our small island before making a movement with a northerly component. It made a loop and then took a general westerly direction towards the north of Mauritius and hit Madagascar during the last weekend. We were spared.
Meanwhile the other storm Hondo, which was formed around Diego Garcia well before Ivan, also took a south easterly movement but this time it was moving away from us. It didn’t represent any threat. It weakened as it reached latitude 20 well below that of Rodrigues. During the last weekend what remained of Hondo started moving westwards directly heading towards us. It passed at its nearest point yesterday night and blessed us with significant amount of rain; the highest amount recorded being about 66 millimeters over 24 hours. The wind blew at an average speed of about 35 kilometers per hour to reach a peak of 77 kilometers per hour today.
Curiously the two storms followed an unusual pattern. Storms in this region are known to move in a direction varying between south and west. Ivan and Hondo’s movement were atypical. A rare anticyclone of about 1025 hectoPascals seemed to push these systems to the north east and south east until it passed away. Then the low pressure systems took their normal course again, which is why they remained constant threats to the mascarenes islands until Ivan passed over Madagascar causing severe damages. While the remains of Hondo are still influencing weather here and in Mauritius, improvements are expected by tomorrow.
That’s nature’s caprices, anyway.
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].