Flooding in Fiji - but no cyclone

One year after TC Winston, the South Pacific looks seasonally wet but quieter

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    On the southwest Pacific island of Fiji, the town of Nadi reported 303mm of rain on Tuesday night. That is a lot, even for a Pacific island and, considering what happened here one year ago, potentially worrying as it indicates active weather.

    Flash flooding and swollen rivers were the result of this rain, which was thankfully more of an annoyance than too damaging.

     

    Fiji was hit in February 2016 by Tropical Cyclone Winston, a major category 5 cyclone (that is at the top of the scale) which caused widespread destruction.

    The official tropical cyclone season runs between November and April. During the last cyclone season, there were eight cyclones, one of which was TC Winston. The forecast issued by the Fijian Met Service for this season suggests as few as three tropical cyclones will pass through Fiji waters with one anticipated to reach Category 3 or above.

    At the moment, there is one tropical depression near Fiji, the one that brought Tuesday night’s rain. Nadi’s February average rainfall is, coincidentally, 303mm, representing 15 days of rain, not just one. It has rained since, a further 56mm, but the heaviest rain is a little to the east of the main island of Viti Levu.

    Last Friday, the Nadi weather office issued a warning that flash flooding would occur in the following week because of a trough of low pressure sitting over the country. People were able to prepare by moving property and livestock out of low-lying areas.

    This following week will see further spells of significant rain but, as yet, no tropical cyclones near Fiji.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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