Published: 2023-04-10 10:16
Last Updated: 2023-09-30 05:34
Mauritius canceled flights and closed its stock exchange Monday as an intense tropical cyclone approached the Indian Ocean island nation, bringing rainfall and gusty winds with it.
No government services were operating, while shops, banks and petrol stations were shut and public transport halted, leaving streets largely deserted, according to an AFP correspondent.
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius said it would shut its doors after the Mauritius Meteorological Services (MMS) issued a Class 3 cyclone warning, saying estimated gusts in the center of Cyclone Freddy could reach around 280 kilometers an hour.
In its latest update at around 7 pm, the agency said Freddy had "passed at its closest distance from the island" at about 120 kilometers to the north and was moving west-southwest at a speed of about 30 kilometers an hour.
The MMS said that although Freddy had undergone "a slight weakening", thunderstorms and gusty weather would continue.
"Sea will be high with heavy swells of the order of seven meters beyond the reefs. Storm surges will continue to cause inundation along the low-lying coastal areas. It is, therefore, strictly advised not to go at sea."
"The public in Mauritius is advised to maintain all precautions and to stay in safe places."
Images from the remote paradise island showed waves crashing to the shore and the wind whipping through palm trees.
In an address late Sunday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth urged citizens to take all necessary precautions, stay home and remain "vigilant."
"Cyclone Freddy is an extremely strong cyclone which is a direct threat" to the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Saint-Brandon, he said.