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Mauritius Climate

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CLIMATE 
Basically, there are two seasons: summer is hot and wet (November to April), whilst winter is warm and dry (May to October). 
Its proximity to the Tropic of Capricorn assures Mauritius of a subtropical climate that is typically warm and humid. Temperatures during summer range from 24°C at dawn to 30°C at noon on the coast, and during winter from about 18°C at dawn to 24°C at noon. On the central plateau it is normally about three to five degrees cooler. The western and northern regions are slightly drier and warmer than the east and the south. 
Winter brings the trade winds, which are predominantly southeasterly and are at their strongest in July and August. The south and east coasts can be unpleasantly windy at this time of year, while in summer the sea breezes offer welcome relief from the humidity. The rainy season is roughly January to May, although rain is spasmodic, not a constant downpour for the entire five months. On the west coast the rainfall is about 1m or less a year, whilst the central plateau and windward slopes can have up to 5m in a year. 
Mauritius, Réunion and Madagascar are prone to cyclones between January and March. A cyclone is a violent tropical storm that can have a devastating effect on vegetation, insecure buildings and roads. It is a tropical zone low-pressure system with winds circulating in a clockwise direction, spiralling with force towards a centre, or eye, around 4km wide. They usually form in the southwest Indian Ocean, north of Mauritius, embracing the island as they move southwards. Gusts can reach over 250km/h. 
Around the centre of a cyclone, where most uplift occurs, there are torrential rains (up to 50cm per day). The cyclone season starts in November with the onset of summer. An average of ten storms is tracked in each summer period but few represent a real threat to Mauritius. Each is given a name, beginning at ‘A’ then working through the alphabet. 
The lifecycle of a cyclone is around nine days but its effect on the island lasts only a day or two, according to its velocity. It moves at a speed of 8–15km/h. Damage is caused by continuous winds and gusts, and flooding. 
Mauritius has a well-structured system of cyclone warnings and procedures. The warnings range from Class I, preliminary pre-cautions (usually 36–48 hours before the cyclone strikes), to Class IV, striking moment, when people are confined indoors. 
The Mauritius Meteorological Service has a website giving up-to-date weather information, which is particularly useful when a cyclone is approaching (http://ncb.intnet.mu/meteo.htm). 

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