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Cyclones unlikely says Met Office

Friday February 03, 2017 Written by Published in Weather
A satellite image of Cyclone Olaf which was part of a set of five cyclones that hit the Cook Islands in 2005 A satellite image of Cyclone Olaf which was part of a set of five cyclones that hit the Cook Islands in 2005 Wiki Commons

The likelihood of a cyclone affecting the Cook Island between now and the end of the cyclone season is low, says the Cook Islands Meteorological Service.

Although the cyclone season ends in April, the peak period for cyclones in the region including the Cook Islands is usually from January to March.

During the last season there were eight cyclones in the South Pacific, including the devastating Cyclone Winston which caused severe damage to parts of Fiji.  (2015/16).

In comparison, the 2016/17 cyclone season is expected to bring five to seven tropical cyclones in the South Pacific region with three to five predicted to reach Category 3 with one to two predicted to reach Category 4 or 5 status.

While there is little chance of a cyclone hitting this country, the risk is still rated as “elevated” for Fiji and Tonga.

Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said at this stage, there were no low pressure system threatening the country.

An active trough lying west of the Cook Islands was expected to bring occasional rain to Rarotonga if it moved in a southeasterly direction.

Ngari said the western part of the Cook Islands had been experiencing rain and strong winds which were expected to remain for the next two to three weeks.

A long-range weather forecast for the Cook Islands released earlier this week by the Fiji Meteorological Service indicated a trough of low pressure remaining slow moving to the south of the southern Cooks.

This was expected to bring cloud and showers, the weather bulletin said.

The forecast said a trough of low pressure with associated cloud and showers was affecting the western parts of the northern Cooks.

Rarotonga residents could be in for a damp time, with occasional showers, heavy at times and few thunderstorms predicted.

For the northern Cooks, the outlook is for occasional showers, heavy at times and few thunderstorms about Pukapuka. Elsewhere it will be fine apart from brief showers.

Moderate seas are also expected.

“While there are no threats of any cyclones affecting us, we will remain vigilant, monitor the system and advise people accordingly,” Ngari said.