Tropical Cyclone Gelena is forecast to pass east of Mauritius on Saturday, February 9, bringing high winds and heavy surf to the country. As of early morning on Saturday (local time), Gelena, a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, was located at approximately 16.4°S, 56.3°E, exhibiting maximum sustained winds of 204 km/h (127 mph), and moving southeastward at 24 km/h (15 mph).
The cyclone is forecast to strengthen to a Category 4 storm as it passes Mauritius on Saturday with maximum sustained winds of 222-240 km/h (138-150 mph); gusts of 80 km/h (50 mph) and heavy thunderstorms are forecast to batter Mauritius, with heavy surf expected in nearby waters. Notably, Port Mathurin (Rodrigues) is likely to experience tropical storm-force winds (at least 119 km/h [74 mph]) over the coming hours. Consequent transportation disruptions (including flight delays and cancelations) are to be anticipated over the coming days.
The island experiences an annual cyclone season from November through April, during which time tropical storms and torrential rain can result in significant material damage.
All those present in Mauritius are advised to follow local forecasts, confirm travel reservations, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities. Be prepared to leave immediately if an evacuation order is given; otherwise, remain indoors until authorities have indicated that the storm has passed. Distance yourself from natural bodies of water and be aware that hotels and airports may close in the event of a storm alert.
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