• warnings;
  • tropical cyclones;
  • dissemination;
  • evaluative criteria;
  • ethics

This paper evaluates the condition (i.e. health) of a tropical cyclone warning system (TCWS) during a ‘quiet period’ between infrequent intense cyclones. Capacity to make pre-disaster evaluations is important – disaster warning systems need to be in sound condition before, not after, disaster. The research – part of the UK’s International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction Flagship Programme – focuses upon an evaluatory method first used on flood warning systems. The Criteria-development Matrix comprises social, organisational and institutional criteria by which a TCWS may be assessed using a five-stage development scale. This method is used to evaluate Mauritius’s TCWS using in-depth interview data. Ways to enhance the method and apply it to other disaster warning systems are discussed. The TCWS in Mauritius is a relatively sound one from which others can learn. Weaknesses requiring attention for Mauritius’s TCWS to progress to an advanced level of development are identified.