Tropical Cyclone Joaninha slams Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues

The island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean has been battered by Tropical Cyclone Joaninha.

Strong winds and heavy rain slammed the tiny volcanic island located 650km to the east of Mauritius as the storm slid past.

At its closest point the eye of the storm was about 80km from the island, which is home to about 40,000 people.

The cyclone made slow progress, only moving around 15 kilometres per hour, which ensured Rodrigues has a prolonged onslaught from the cyclone.

Winds in Port Mathurin, on the north coast, gusted over 100 km/h for over 33 hours. The highest recorded gust was 161 km/h.

Almost 200 millimetres of rain was reported from the system, but had the eye of the storm made landfall the situation would have been even worse. At the centre of the cyclone, the winds were gusting up to 250 km/h.

The damage caused by the cyclone is still being assessed, but it could turn out to be fairly extensive.

Joaninha is the second major cyclone to graze the island this year. In February Gelena, a cyclone of a similar size and strength, passed close to the island and destroyed 90 percent of the electric grid on the island.

The damage from February’s storm is estimated to be about $1m.

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