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Met Service keeps an eye on cyclones

Thursday 2 March 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Weather

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Met Service  keeps an eye  on cyclones
Arona Ngari, director of the Cook Islands Meteorological Service. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22030718

Cook Islands Meteorological Service is keeping an eye on upcoming tropical cyclones.

MetService director Arona Ngari said the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Judy, which was yesterday classified as a Category Four, and is making its way wreaking havoc through Vanuatu, should miss the bulk of the Cook Islands.

After that, there will also be the arrival of tropical Cyclone Kevin, which originated in the Solomon Islands.

“We’re expecting both to take a southeast track,” Ngari said.

“Hopefully both will peter out before they get near us.”

According to Radio New Zealand, teams are working to restore power and communication in parts of Vanuatu badly hit by Severe Tropical Cyclone Judy.

Two southern islands are cut off, and a red tropical cyclone warning remained in place in the Tafea province yesterday.

Vanuatu MetService had forecast destructive hurricane force winds of 150km/h, gusting to 200km/h, would affect the central and southern islands; while destructive storm force winds of 110km/h, gusting to 150km/h, will affect 80 nautical miles north-east and south-east from the centre of the system.

It follows the devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand, which caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.

Ngari said tropical cyclones were relatively common during this time of the year.

“They form only over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm, moist air over the ocean rises upward from near the surface.

“Once the waters reach temperatures of over 28 degrees Celsius, then we have an issue.

“We will keep in contact with the public through our social media.”

Forecast for Rarotonga is “fine apart from brief showers”. For the Southern and Northern Cook Islands, the forecast is “fine apart from brief showers, moderate southeast winds and moderate seas”.