UPDATE: What SA travellers need to know about Cyclone Berguitta and affected flights to Mauritius

2018-01-17 13:01 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - As Mauritius and Reunion Island prepare to be hit by tropical Cyclone Berguitta, a number of flights to the islands have been cancelled.

SA Weather Service says that the cyclone is “quite far from South Africa” and therefore will not affect SA’s weather in any way.

Kevin Rae, Chief Forecaster at South African Weather Service, told Traveller24 that "Berguitta is moving south-westwards, directly towards Mauritius but relatively slowly, at approximately 3 knots (about 6 km/h)".

He says that it is expected to make landfall over Mauritius on Wednesday evening, 17 January, at approximately 20:00 SA time or 22:00 Mauritius local time.

“Berguitta is currently termed a tropical cyclone, which can be associated with winds in the region of 118 to 166km/h and has the potential to be very destructive,” says Rae, adding that Mauritius and Reunion are “well-prepared for the onslaught of such systems, as this part of the Indian Ocean commonly experiences such tropical disturbances during the latter half of the austral (southern hemisphere) summer.”

ALSO SEE: ALERT: SAA flights to Mauritius cancelled due to Cyclone Berguitta

Rae says it is standard practice for flights to be cancelled ahead of an approaching cyclone. “Airlines and civil aviation authorities wish to avoid a situation where aircraft are parked on the apron of an airfield, typically exposed to a variety of flying debris which could significantly damage, or in extreme cases, wreck the aircraft.

“Smaller aircraft are also likely to be flipped or tossed into each other. Airport authorities therefore try to ensure that, where possible, all aircraft either fly to unaffected areas, or are securely housed in a hangar well-ahead of the onset of strong winds,” he says.

Flights affected

What to read next on Traveller24:

ALERT: Tropical cyclone headed for Mauritius, Reunion Island

Weather Update: Hot temperatures with rain, thunderstorms in central parts

ALERT: SAA flights to Mauritius cancelled due to Cyclone Berguitta