Systems in place for cyclone updates

Thursday January 07, 2016 Written by Published in Weather
Met Service director, Arona Ngari. 16010622 Met Service director, Arona Ngari. 16010622

As the country heads towards the cyclone-prone month of February, the Cook Islands Meteorological Service is assuring the public that they have the systems in place to fully monitor adverse weather conditions.


After avoiding Cyclone Tuni and Cyclone Ula which battered other countries in the Pacific, the Cook Islands still faces the risk of at least 10 more cyclones predicted for the region in the 2015/16 season.

Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari says the country is not clear of cyclones yet.

But he adds the service has the systems in place to monitor the progress of any impending cyclones “pretty effectively.”

“Although Fiji is the tropical cyclone centre for the region, we also keep an eye on the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Guam and the National Weather Service in Honolulu which also produces data that could be used to monitor cyclones.”.

“We try to localise the information that we receive from these centres. Probably, 95 per cent of the time we would agree with Fiji, but there are odd times that we will question them to get accurate information so that we can inform the public appropriately.”

Weather forecasters have predicted up to 12 cyclones for Pacific in the 2015/16 season with the risk elevated because of the El Nino spell hovering over the region.

In November last year, Cyclone Tuni poised some threat but it lost its cyclone characteristics to a low pressure system before it reached Rarotonga.

The category one cyclone caused some damage in Samoa and Niue.

Last month Cyclone Ula did not pose any direct threat to the Cook Islands but caused significant damage in Fiji, Tonga and Tuvalu.

“The prediction was for 12 cyclones for the whole region. We already had two and as we enter the second half of the 2015/16 cyclone season into more active months, especially February, we are expecting more cyclones.

“The cyclone months are normally from November to April, but February is the most volatile month.

“So it’s important that people take caution of any activity that brews up and be vigilant at all times. We will continue to monitor the system and if there is a threat, we will notify everyone accordingly.”

Meanwhile, the chances of a significant amount of rain arriving anytime soon is slim due to El Nino which is causing a dry spell in some countries in the region.

Ngari says only tropical cyclones can produce the amount of rainfall needed to match the average which normally falls at this time of the year.

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