Raining on the parade

Tuesday November 26, 2019 Written by Published in Weather
Enhanced rain map for the southern Cook Islands at 7pm last night. 19112519 Enhanced rain map for the southern Cook Islands at 7pm last night. 19112519

Cook Islands Meteorological Service has issued a heavy rain warning for Rarotonga.


Director Arona Ngari said the downpour, associated with a trough to the west of the country, could result in flooding of low-lying areas.

The trough is expected to pass over Rarotonga tomorrow but the rainy spell would remain in force until Thursday, Ngari said.

“People living in the low-lying areas and near streams must take extra care especially in the early hours of the morning. They should be cautious of the streams overflowing which can cause some flooding problems.”

Homes and businesses around Avatiu bridge were flooded after heavy rain this month, and yesterday they were preparing for the worst again.

CIPS Electronics, which suffered the brunt of the flash flooding, has moved goods to high ground.

The shop is located next to the Avatiu bridge which usually clogs up during heavy rain, though diggers worked to deepen it last week.

CIPS manager Daniel Ahau said they have placed products on double pallets to avoid damage, and put silicon around the doors to prevent water coming in. “There is nothing much we can do apart from lifting the stuff off the floor,” he said.

Ahau praised Infrastructure Cook Islands workers for clearing the stream near the bridge. Workers has scraped off vegetation growing in the stream area, and blocking the flow.

“But if the debris coming from uphill clogs the bridge, we will be pretty much stuffed again,” he said. “Hope everyone living up the stream are mindful of their rubbish and have disposed them properly.”

Infrastructure Cook Islands secretary Diane Charlie-Puna yesterday confirmed their staff were on standby with heavy machinery to clear flooding.

They had a response team for each of the three vaka, she said. “Our team know the high risk areas such as Nikao School, Avatiu bridge, Betela bridge and the Aroko area. The teams are on standby, they would go at certain times during the rain to inspect these high risk areas.”

The rain is also affecting the paddlers competing in the weeklong Matson Vaka Eiva competition.

They are hoping for sunny weather leading up to the final race day on Saturday.

Top local paddler Serena Hunter hoped the weather cleared up today in time for the Mixed Round Raro race. “It’d be nicer paddling around the island with clear skies,” she said.

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