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Downpour ‘a blessing in disguise’

Tuesday March 15, 2016 Written by Published in Weather
The continuous downpour yesterday brought out plenty of umbrellas as people attempted to move around downtown Avarua without getting soaked. 16031407 The continuous downpour yesterday brought out plenty of umbrellas as people attempted to move around downtown Avarua without getting soaked. 16031407

Despite continuous and sometimes heavy downpours on Rarotonga yesterday, the Cook Islands Meteorological Service is worried rainfall recorded so far is still below the average mark.

 

Between 8am to 2pm yesterday, 51mm of rain were recorded by the weather office. This is the highest total in a day so far this year.

As of 2pm yesterday, total rainfall recorded on Rarotonga for the month so far was 78.4mm and with the rain expected to continue until late last night, the weather office expected it to cross the 100mm mark.

Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said the average rainfall for March was 188mm.

“Last year around this time, we had recorded 362mm of rain which was double the amount of average rainfall for March,” Ngari said.

“But if you look at these figures, we are still way below the average mark and given the drought conditions because of the El Nino weather pattern, weather like this (rain) is a blessing in disguise for the country.

“The maximum rainfall for the month of March is 470mm which we recorded during a La Nina period in 2007.”

Ngari predicted rain would continue for a couple of days because of a trough of low pressure which has been hovering over southern and northern Cook Islands since last week.

Occasional rain, heavy at times, and few thunderstorms with moderate northeast winds, seas and southeast swells have been forecast for Rarotonga.

“People need to be cautious of odd floods around the place and ensure they boil their drinking water, especially during the rainy period,” Ngari said.

Cook Islands alongside other countries in the region are under the spell of El Nino which has affected local weather patterns since the beginning of last year.

Long standing droughts and cyclones were predicted for the Pacific region.

Ngari said although the cyclone season was coming to an end, people should remain vigilant in the coming weeks.

“Some cyclones begin to form in low pressure systems but dissipate instead of intensifying. However, this doesn’t mean we become complacent.”