Now that the country is more or less back to normal, questions are being raised concerning the expertise of the Mauritius Meteorological Station. Let us have an evaluation of the service it has been providing us for the past few days that the country has had to bear the brunt of cyclone Edilson. An ex-employee of the Meteorological Station as well as a current one have given their views and justifications.
For one, the cyclone was nameless for some hours after its formation. The situation remained so even after a cyclone warning class I was issued.
Then, in no time was a cyclone warning class III issued, some 2 hours after a warning of class II. The public has been wondering about the need for such drastic measures, specially that the weather was not actually cyclonic; it did rain, but it never really rained cats and dogs, and the winds were not considered to be that strong either. Have the meteorologists adhered to the protocols? Or have they taken unnecessary precautions? How can they be justified?
It has been suggested that the procedures might have been rushed. An ex-employee of the Vacoas Meteorological centre has put forward that a cyclone has to have previously been named when issuing a cyclone warning. The formerly nameless cyclone sure did puzzle the Mauritian population. Furthermore, before jumping to class II warnings, certain conditions have to be met according to protocols: if it is likely that the Island can face gusts of 120km/h (or more) within 12 hours, a class II cyclone warning is then issued. A cyclone warning class III is issued if the probability of having gusts of 120 km/h (or more) within 6 hours, exists.
How to go about the management of cyclone forecasts? The nearness of the cyclone to the island, its intensity as well as its trajectory have to be taken into consideration. It has been stated that the Vacoas Meteo team must have rushed through things as a means of extreme precaution, bearing in mind the calamities we went through on the 30th of March, when many people lost their lives.
Someone from the team actually confirmed that it was the close proximity of the cyclone that caused the meteorologists to take immediate actions. He purports that all the conditions for the intensification of the cyclone were present, and that it was only a matter of time. Hence, they judged that no risk could be taken in this regard. Additionally, he pointed out that class III warnings have also been issued in the past without the occurrence of relatively strong winds.