\High seas and crashing waves pound the iconic Trader Jacks Bar & Restaurant at Avarua
harbour in January this year. Visitors found poor weather one of the least attractive or appealing thing about the Cook Islands. MELINA ETCHES/22012141
Cook Islands’ Southern Group is expecting near-normal or below-normal cyclone activity and the Northern Group is expecting below-normal activity, according to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
Islands’ cyclone season starts today, November 1, and continues until April,
assessment of named tropical cyclone (TC) activity from NIWA and Metservice
indicate six to 10 cyclones in the Southwest Pacific basin between November
2022 and April 2023.
said Cook Islands could expect zero to one cyclone in the 2022/23 TC season.
normal or below normal TC activity is expected for Fiji, Tuvalu, and the
southern Cook Islands.
normal TC activity is forecast for Tuvalu and most other islands near or to the
east of the International Date Line including Wallis and Futuna, Samoa,
American Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Niue, the northern Cook Islands, the Society
Islands and the remainder of French Polynesia.”
Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said February was the most
active month for cyclones.
there was normally an equal risk of cyclones in the Southern and Northern
“Regardless of the risk, it is our cyclone season, thus the need to
stay alert at all times,” Ngari said.
Emergency Management Cook Islands director John Strickland said: “(The report) sounds good, it sounds safe, but we have to
be on the alert because if you take climate change into consideration anything
“We need to be vigilant, we need to be on the alert
Strickland said they would put out radio and TV ads
during the season to remind people to have dried food, water and torches available.
He said the country was prepared for a cyclone and last
week a workshop was held to get ready for the season.
Strickland said people on coastal areas also needed to
be prepared to move and to “take heed” of advice and warnings.
“Everyone’s cooperation would be very much appreciated.”
Strickland said he was disappointed in people going to
the ocean when the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai
volcano erupted in January, despite local sea surge warnings.
“Instead of moving away from the sea surge as the water
was going out, our people went towards it, looking at it, having fun, when they
should be moving away, moving to higher grounds away from it.”
Strickland said he wanted people to cooperate with Emergency
Management Cook Islands, police and other stakeholders.
The NIWA report also said Vanuatu
and New Caledonia typically experienced the greatest cyclone activity, with an
average of about two or three passing close to the island nations each year.
This season there
is an elevated cyclone risk around the Coral Sea and Vanuatu. There is also normal
or elevated activity expected for New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea while the
Solomon Islands and Austral Islands are expected to have normal activity.
are categorised in strength from one to five, with five being the most intense.
The report said
three to four cyclones are anticipated to reach or exceed category three
strength, with mean wind speeds of at least 119 km/h.
“There has been a
trend toward fewer, but stronger TCs since quality observations began in the
early 1970s, and because of those trends one of the expected severe TCs for
this season could reach Category 5 strength.
communities should remain alert and well-prepared for severe TC events.”
recorded 14.3 millimetres of rain over the weekend to bring October’s total
rainfall to 112.2mm. The monthly average is 118mm.
The weekend’s top
wind speed was 30 knots in Nikao and 24 knots in Titikaveka.
previously said November is forecast to be dry and people needed to conserve