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Gloomy outlook for year’s end

Wednesday December 30, 2015 Written by Published in Weather
Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari discusses the low pressure system which is approaching Cook Islands and likely to bring rain in the next couple of days. 15122905 Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari discusses the low pressure system which is approaching Cook Islands and likely to bring rain in the next couple of days. 15122905

If the weather forecasters are right, rain could put a dampener on New Year’s celebrations on Thursday night.

The Cook Islands Meteorological Service is monitoring an approaching low pressure system which might make the night’s two scheduled fireworks displays a dodgy proposition

The system is likely to bring associated rain later this week.

But it’s another depression system north of the impending low pressure system that is really worrying the weather office.

Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said the second depression system could pose a threat to the country.

“At the moment, we are monitoring a low depression system which lies northwest of the Cook Islands which could bring in some rain in the next couple of days,” Ngari said.

“We have also put in some strong wind warnings for the northern group.

“But an associated system which is lying north of the initial depression concerns us.

“It has a well-defined centre and can be a threat to us in the next three to five days. It could bring in (severe) rain and could even turn into something nasty.”

Ngari said weather during the festive season was normally gloomy but the risk of bad weather was higher this time given it was an El Nino year.

He said low depression systems could become chaotic in El Nino spells.

“There are indications that it may be a wet New Year. Although during Christmas we had half day of rain and half day of sunshine, this impending system looks wet and gloomy which is actually common in our summer. But the risk is elevated in El Nino.”

Ngari said last months rainfall was below average monthly figures and similar projections were in place for this month.

“Unless there is a low depression system which turns into a tropical cyclone bringing in (the much-needed) rain, we will see below average rainfall again this month.”

Meanwhile, hotter days are also approaching as the weather office predicts the mercury to hit new highs in early January and February.

The average temperature last month was 26C and Ngari said the extreme heat experienced on some days recently was because of the unusual humidity.

“My message to the public is to look out for the news and call the weather office for updates. People should not be complacent and should take the warnings seriously.”

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has already predicted that the Cook Islands could face as many as 13 of the Category 1 or stronger tropical cyclones by April.

The country escaped the brunt of Cyclone Tuni which downgraded to a depression on its way to the Cook Islands from Samoa last month.

NIWA said these cyclones would be aggravated by the strong El Nino which was still affecting the region.