Under the threat of an intense tropical cyclone named Belal, Reunion Island has been placed on orange cyclone alert since 7 p.m. (4 p.m. in Paris), Saturday January 13. Its residents were invited to stock up on water and food to last several days, to prepare a first aid kit, to deal with power or water outages, and to know where to take shelter. between Sunday evening and Tuesday…

The French island in the Indian Ocean will be placed on cyclone red alert on Sunday from 8 p.m. (5 p.m. in Paris) due to the approach of the Belal weather system, Jérôme Filippini, the prefect of La Meeting.

He called on the population to confine themselves from the beginning of the evening. “I took the decision to trigger the red alert from 8 p.m.”, until “probably Tuesday morning”, he declared during a press conference, stressing that the situation “could evolve “. “Each and everyone will have to confine themselves to a safe place,” added the state representative in this department of some 870,000 inhabitants.

“The Littoral road will be closed to traffic in the west/north direction from 1 p.m. Traffic will also be prohibited for two wheels in the north/west direction,” adds the prefecture.

“A cyclone that could mark the history of Reunion Island”

At 11 a.m. (8 a.m. in Paris), the Belal weather system was less than 300 kilometers north/northwest of the Reunion coast. “Belal is heading towards a cyclone that could mark the history of Reunion Island,” said Sébastien Langlade, head of forecasting at Météo-France Réunion, to Agence France-Presse. This meteorological phenomenon, “tomorrow [Monday] will interest us directly with, if the forecasts are confirmed, a passage of the eye of the system over the island or in the immediate vicinity”, specified the forecaster.

“Cyclone Belal will be intense with winds that could exceed 200 kilometers per hour on the coast and 250 kilometers per hour or more” in the heights of the island. “Destructive and devastating winds which can cause great damage,” warned Sébastien Langlade.

Reunion, currently placed on orange cyclone alert, has not been hit by an intense cyclone for ten years and the passage of Bejisa in the first days of 2014.

For its part, Reunion Island airport announces its closure to traffic, announced its operator as it approaches Belal, which “takes the path of a cyclone which could mark the history” of the island, according to Météo -France.

“Due to weather conditions which continue to deteriorate, the airport company informs passengers that La Réunion Roland-Garros airport will be closed today at 4 p.m. [1 p.m. in Paris] until further notice,” writes the operator in a press release. “Flights for tomorrow [Monday] are canceled,” adds the international airport located in the town of Sainte-Marie, in the north of the island.