Tropical Cyclone Cilida has strengthened to become ‘an intense tropical cyclone’, and it is projected to pass ‘dangerously close’ to Mauritius. Madagascar, Réunion, and Rodrigues may also be affected by storm surges.

AccuWeather reports that ‘as of Friday evening, local time, Cilida intensified to a very intense tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 250 km/h (155 mph). Winds of this speed are equivalent to a Category 5 major hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans.

People on the island are already reporting heavy traffic due to rain and flooding.

Travel advice

The storm is not projected to hit the islands, so the weather impact should be limited compared to some of the storm systems that have made landfall in the past. High seas and storm surges are likely, so you should avoid beaches and the sea front.

If the path of the storm changes unexpectedly, the situation could worsen. The following advice is tailored for more extreme weather events, but some people find it best to make a plan just in case.

If you are in the region – 

  • Monitor the local weather forecast. Use a couple of different apps and/or websites to get information from multiple sources.  
  • Look up and save contact details for your local embassy or consular services, and emergency services (different branches may have different numbers). For all contact information, make sure you make a note of it in an offline location too – you may need to make a call from a payphone or landline if your phone battery has died.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance information to hand and know when to call. If you have booked your trip through a travel agent or a tour company, keep that information stored safely too. 
  • Monitor local media.
  • Keep mobile devices charged. 
  • Put aside a storm kit to help you wait out the worst of the weather. Include food that will not spoil and bottled drinking water, candles and matches, a first aid kit, medication, torch, phone charge, batteries, cash.
  • Know what form evacuation notices will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with them. Put together a grab bag that contains ID, travel documents, insurance information, medication, snacks and a bottle of water. 
  • Comply with advice from the local authorities. 
  • Be prepared for delays and disruption.
  • Check in with friends and family.
  • If something bad happens, check in with your local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you are heading to the region soon – 

  • Check in with your airline and travel agent to find out if your trip will be impacted. 
  • Monitor media reports.
  • Talk to your travel insurance provider to check what is/is not covered, and plan accordingly. 

Official travel advice

From the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The cyclone season in Mauritius normally runs from November to May. The Mauritian authorities have advised that tropical storm Cilida has been upgraded to a class 2 cyclone warning. Current projection has the storm passing between Mauritius and Rodrigues on Sunday 23 December. You should continue to monitor and follow the advice of the Mauritius Meteorological Services.

Please click through here for the rest of the advisory.

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