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King tides expected to ‘peak’ tonight: Met Service

Wednesday 13 July 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Weather

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King tides expected to ‘peak’ tonight: Met Service
Photo: Caleb Fotheringham

King tides are expected to continue for the next 24 hours, according to the Cook Islands Met Service.

The tides have 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.

Met Service director Arona Ngari said it was “too difficult” to say whether it had peaked on Wednesday, but noted the king tides would continue at 9.30pm tonight and 10am on Thursday.

Warnings about coastal inundation and severe swells will remain in place at least for the next 24 hours, and the situation was unlikely to abate for another three to four days, Ngari said.

“It’s been caused by a high pressure system from New Zealand that has made its way through the island,” Ngari said.

Prime Minister Mark Brown said emergency services will remain on high alert during the night as the swells that have inundated parts of the south coast of Rarotonga and Pa Enua in the southern group are expected to continue.

Brown while people are not being told to evacuate their properties at this stage, they should prepare and have a plan ready should evacuation be required.

The Police, Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and the Takitumu and Puaikura Puna, will be monitoring the situation. In particular, Puna staff will be patrolling beaches in their area to warn visitors who may not be following local media and social media reports, of the potential danger caused by the waves.

PM Brown’s call is for people to be “vigilant”.

“The government stands ready to support households in need with Contingency Support Funds that were established a few years ago during the Avatiu floods.”