Cyclone Freddy heads for Mauritius and Madagascar

STORY: Mauritius grounded flights and shut its stock exchange on Monday (February 20) as tropical cyclone Freddy approached the island.

The storm, packing winds of up to 75 miles per hour, poses a direct threat to Mauritius, the island nation's weather service has said.

It warned that a storm surge is "likely to cause coastal inundation" in risk areas.

Video verified by Reuters showed strong winds and waves hitting an oceanfront hotel.

Water could be seen entering the lobby as guests and staff looked on.

Authorities on the island of Madagascar, around 700 miles west of Mauritius, said they were expecting a direct hit by late Tuesday (February 21).

Emergency teams there are braced for heavy rains, floods and landslides in four regions.

In recent years the Indian Ocean's islands and Mozambique, on Africa's coast, have been hit by a string of deadly storms.

Homes have been destroyed, crops ruined and thousands forced to flee.