Dangerous Cyclone Berguitta pulls away from Mauritius, La Reunion after bringing damaging winds and flooding
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 18, 2018, 12:28:09 PM EST
Severe Tropical Storm Berguitta passed dangerously close to La Reunion and Mauritius, but now looks to pull away from the islands, decreasing the impacts to the area.
"Despite some recent weakening, Berguitta is still a very dangerous tropical cyclone," AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said.
By maintaining its strength, while passing Mauritius and La Reunion, life threatening impacts were expected.
Currently, the storm is at severe tropical storm strength based on the southwestern Indian Ocean scale and is equal to a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic or East Pacific oceans.
Storms of this magnitude are capable of damaging wind gusts of 130-169 km/h (80-100 mph). Such winds are capable of causing structural damage to some buildings while also downing trees and causing widespread power outages.
Rainfall could reach a total of 200-300 mm (8-12 inches) across the islands, as Beguitta pulls away to the south; this amoungt of rain may produce flash flooding and, across the mountainous terrain of the islands, mudslides are possible as well.
Parts of La Reunion were inundated by over 400 mm (16 inches) of rain due to tropical moisture from Ava earlier this month, which could add to the risk for flooding and mudslides this week.
Shortly after passing by La Reunion and Mauritius, Berguitta is expected to remain well east of Madagascar with no widespread impacts to the island later this week.
Despite this, the storm could still bring dangerous seas south and east of Madagascar.
Residents across eastern Madagascar continue to clean up after being lashed by Ava earlier this month. The death toll stands at 36 with 25 others missing, according to AFP. A total of 17 people were killed when one home collapsed following a mudslide southeast of the capital of Antananarivo.
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