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Weather system approaching Rarotonga to bring more rain

Friday 10 March 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National, Weather

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Weather system approaching Rarotonga to bring more rain
Sandbags were placed around parts of the Pacific Resort Rarotonga as rain persisted. Photo: AL WILLIAMS/23030922

A heavy weather system is making its way towards Rarotonga, bringing with it torrential rain.

Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said the heavy rain was caused by a weather system “just north of Niue”.

“The forecast is that the system will make its way close to Rarotonga but won’t intensify,” Ngari said.

“The potential for it to turn into a Tropical Cyclone is very low.”

Ngari said the rain over the next couple of days would be similar to what happened on Thursday, where more than 30 millimetres fell.

“We’re expecting quite a bit of rain over the next few days, but things are forecast to subside by Sunday. The MetService will be monitoring the situation as it progresses,” he said.

Pacific Weather and Tropical Cyclones Updates (PWTCU) posted about the incoming weather system on their social media on Wednesday.

“This system is embedded within the active convergence zone extending from Rotuma to the Cook Islands,” the post says.

“This system lies in an area of favourable conditions with warm sea surface temperatures and low vertical wind shear, however due to its interaction with the convergence zone, this system is expected to remain weak and is not expected to develop into a Tropical Cyclone in the next 24-48 hours.

“However, this system together with the convergence zone will continue to bring some heavy rain and strong winds to Niue, Samoa, American Samoa, Wallis & Futuna and portions of the Cook Islands. It is expected to track east south-eastwards towards the Southern Cook Islands in the next two to three days.”

Emergency Management Cook Islands director John Strickland said there was “no cause for alarm” at the moment, but the organisation was nonetheless monitoring the situation.

“At the moment, we urge people to be vigilant and be aware of the weather system we’re experiencing,” Strickland said. 

Pacific Resort group chief executive Marcus Niszow said it was putting staff through some training exercises in order to prepare for a major rain event.

“At the moment, things are looking okay, but we’re keeping a close eye on things and going through our regular checks,” Niszow said.

To Tatou Vai water authority spokesman Walter Tuarae-White said the recent rain which is likely to continue for a few days was “a welcome relief and boost to our intake-catchments”.

“We’ve had some big downpours and steady rain in between, which is what we ideally want. So, it soaks into the ground better rather than running off the hard surfaces from the recent dry period,” he said.

“It’s early days yet to gauge the levels across our 10 intakes but suffice to say, with the amount of rain we’ve had in the past 48 hours things are looking very positive. If the rain continues as forecast, we should be back up to optimum levels. The key is, we have several days of steady to heavy rain coming down to recharge our streams.”