Tropical cyclone Felleng passed between Reunion and Madagascar over the last few days. It was closer to Madagascar so it missed the Island by 100's of km but we still had three days or so of heavy rains and high winds (not as bad as Madagascar where four people died). It was the first cyclone near miss that we were on the island for and its given us an idea of the power of the storms even when they miss the island by 100's of km.
For us it was lazy family time together as we weren't able to go out much and the kids are off school on Wednesdays, there was a teachers strike on Thursday (no idea why) and the schools were closed on Friday due to the weather.
|Sam and I in the sea at Grand Anse just before the first of the heavy rains, it's not very obvious in the picture but the waves were very high (and lots of fun) due to the storm.|
Take a look at the clip at the link below:
The link above goes to a local news site which shows the road from Saint Pierre (the main town near us) to Saint Louis being washed away and gives an idea of the power of the floods. That same section of road was washed away during the last near miss about a month ago and cost €500,000 to repair that time! In the clip you can see a shiny new bridge that is supposed to replace the old road (I guess they were getting of replacing it), it has been under construction since before we arrived on the island and will be completed soon (hopefully!).
The fact that the topography of the island is so steep means that all the rain water get funnelled into ravines and you get huge amounts of water flowing down in short periods of time and there can be flash floods as well as regular flooding. All over the island where roads cross these ravines or other low points in the local terrain you get warning signs and barriers that can be lowered when the roads are flooded as cars have been washed away in the past.
|Water still flowing over one of the local roads almost two days after peak of the heavy rain.|
Luckily Reunion being France it has the construction standards and infrastructure that means that casualties and damage here from cyclones is a lot less that on nearby Madagascar (I still feel guilty though because as a storm fan I'm looking forward (if a bit nervously) to seeing the power of one close up when one does hit the island).