Everybody’s shivering since yesterday. True it’s winter time; but it’s not that cold. The lowest temperature recorded last night was 13.7 deg C on the central plateau (middle and higher region of the island). It was hardly one degree below normal. Night temperature has often dipped to 10 degrees C in the past.
Day temperatures recorded yesterday varied from 21 to 27 deg C, about 2 degrees below normal during this period. However, south easterlies are blowing at an average speed of 25 km/h peaking at 50 or 60 at times, bringing in cold air from the South Pole. And the sea is rough beyond the reefs with waves of the order of 3 meters high.
This is a typical situation due to a strong anticyclone to the south east of the mascarenes. Anticyclones are common in winter and they bring along strong winds, rainy and cold weather most of the time. Although temperatures may be within the range of normal for the period, you feel colder than expected. It’s a sensation of cold due to what is called wind chill or often referred to as wind chill factor.
Wind chill relates to a condition of enhanced feeling of cold due to the combined effect of temperature and wind speed in a relatively dry air. It is usually lower than the actual air temperature. For instance, for an actual temperature of 15 deg C together with a dry wind of 40 km/h, you may have a sensation of 10 deg C. The reason why you can see everybody draped in loads of woolen pulls, coats, scarves, caps and huge jackets. No way can you have a good night’s sleep without double blankets. And while I’m at my keyboard my fingers are virtually numb.
It will become more comfortable by the end of the week as the anticyclone moves away eastwards. That’s what the local meteorological services are forecasting.
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].