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Storm surge expected from Tropical Cyclone

Tuesday 11 January 2022 | Written by Sian Solomon | Published in Environment, National

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Storm surge expected from Tropical Cyclone
Tropical Cyclone Cody is unlikely to affect the Cook Islands but a strong swell generated by the cyclone could bring storm surges and swells from the northeast. Pictured is chaotic scene at the Nikao seawall when Rarotonga was caught off guard by the tail end of ex-Tropical Cyclone Sarai on New Year’s Day, 2020. 20010319

A tropical cyclone that hit Fiji over the weekend and devastated parts of the country will not affect the Cook Islands, according to the Cook Islands Meteorological Service.

The category one cyclone named Cody hit Fiji on Sunday around midday, causing widespread flooding and forcing 2000 people to flee their homes and seek shelter across multiple evacuation points.

The cyclone left one person dead, after a 35-year-old man from the western town of Tavua was swept away while trying to cross a flooded river.

The Fiji Meteorological Service’s latest update on their website has warned of strong winds and heavy rain with a flash flood warning remaining in force for all low-lying and flash-flood prone areas on the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu as well as some outer islands.

The Cook Islands Meteorological Service says tracking models show it is unlikely to affect the Cook Islands but a strong swell generated by the cyclone could bring storm surges and swells from the northeast.

Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said: “Although Tropical Cyclone Cody is currently moving west-south-west, it will tend to move south-eastwards in the next day or two.”

“There will be some storm surge for us in the next 3 to 5 days due to Cody’s trajectory to the south and maybe a concern for some, especially on the western coasts of the islands,” Ngari said yesterday.

“This can also become a risk during high tides when storm tides coincide with high tides. The communities are advised to be vigilant in cases like this and just to be cautious of this event.”

By early tomorrow Tropical Cyclone Cody is expected to move away from Fiji and head towards the southern islands of Vanuatu.

However, remnants of the cyclone could hit New Zealand next week bringing flooding rains and damaging winds.

According to New Zealand’s weather website www.weatherwatch.co.nz there is a 60 per cent chance that cyclone Cody could hit North Island beaches in a week’s time.

The New Zealand MetService also confirmed that Tropical Cyclone Cody could cause high waves and strong easterly winds.

“There is still a high amount of uncertainty surrounding the impact that this system may have in a week’s time, but we are monitoring it closely and will keep everyone updated,” MetService meteorologist Dan Corrigan told Newshub.

For the Cook Islands this week, the weather is expected to bring cloudy periods with moderate north-easterly winds and seas with some showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Local residents in Rarotonga heading back to work yesterday were met with rain and partly cloudy skies, with a high temperature of 27 degrees and a low of 23 degrees.

For the rest of the week, the Southern Cooks can expect cloudy periods with brief showers.

The Northern Cooks can expect cloudy periods with some showers and possible thunderstorms expected over the islands of Pukapuka and Manihiki.

Elsewhere around the Cook Islands will be fine apart from brief showers, moderate north-easterly wind, and moderate seas.