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Coastal inundation alert issued for Rarotonga, Southern Cooks

Monday 13 May 2024 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in National, Weather

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Coastal inundation alert issued  for Rarotonga, Southern Cooks
King tides experienced in Rarotonga in 2022. The tides battered the south side of Rarotonga, causing businesses to cancel tours, roads to be damaged and people including tourists to be evacuated from their homes and accommodations. 24051214

A coastal inundation alert was issued on Saturday for Rarotonga and the rest of the Southern Cook Islands, warning of potential sea flooding in coastal areas, particularly during high tides.

The Cook Islands Meteorological Service, in its 6pm update yesterday, advised that a coastal inundation alert remains in effect for the Southern Cook Islands’ coastal areas.

The coastal inundation alert is due to a weak low-pressure system and southeasterly winds affecting the Southern Cook Islands.

The forecast to midnight includes sea flooding of coastal areas especially during high tides, cloudy periods with brief showers, moderate to fresh southeast winds and moderate to rough seas.

For Rarotonga, the forecast includes sea flooding of coastal areas especially during high tides and cloudy periods with brief showers.

In a statement to its members on Sunday, Cook Islands Tourism urged them to take precautions to protect their properties and guests.

“A coastal inundation alert is now in force over the coastal areas of the Southern Cooks. A heavy swell warning remains in force for all Southern Cooks waters and south facing coastal areas. Large waves from the South-Southwest likely to cause some dangerous conditions,” the statement said.

“As a precaution, be advised that everyone should avoid the coastlines, remove or secure boats and remove loose beachfront items and avoid parking vehicles near coastlines.”

Liana Scott, president of the Tourism Industry Council, said there was “nothing noticeable” yesterday, but they have alerted security and staff “to be mindful, and bring furniture a bit further back”. 

“Fortunately, we have 24-hour security to keep an eye out,” said Scott, who is also the general manager of the Muri Beach Club Hotel.

She also emphasised the need for a mass text from Emergency Management Cook Islands, via Vodafone, to reach stakeholders and the general public who might not have been checking their emails throughout the week.

In a Facebook post on Saturday at 3.38pm, Emergency Management Cook Islands said: “We’re expecting some moderate to large swells on the south side of Rarotonga for the next few days.”

“People should take extra caution of stronger than usual currents, and dangerous conditions around the passages.

“Beachfront property owners on the southern side should also keep an eye on the conditions, with regard to your equipment and belongings on the beach during high tide.”