Tropical Cyclone batters La Reunion
The sixth storm of the season brings flooding rains and damaging winds to the southern Indian Ocean islands
Tropical Cyclone BeJisa, spent the last few days of 2013 tracking across the southern Indian Ocean, heading in the general direction of Madagascar. At one stage the storm packed winds of 200kph with gusts approaching 250kph, making it the equivalent of a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
On Wednesday the system took a turn to the south as it swept across the Ocean Islands before passing through La Reunion on Thursday. Fortunately, the strongest winds were on the western flank of the storm, and so did not hit land, but there was still some significant damage to property.
Winds in excess of 150kph were recorded as the cyclone clipped the southwest corner of the island. Meanwhile 24 hour rainfall totals in excess of 100mm were widely measured. Saint-Denis had 111mm of rain on Thursday.
Waves approaching 10 metres lashed the coast. The cyclone caused widespread damage uprooting trees, damaging and flooding dozens of homes and severing power and water supplies At one stage around 82,000 homes were left without electricity.
At least one person has died and 15 people were injured. The storm is now moving into the open waters to the south of Madagascar and will steadily weaken over the next few days.