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Wet weather to persist

Thursday 4 May 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Weather

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Wet weather to persist
A kite surfer takes advantage of the recent high winds. Photo: Kitesup/23050327

Persistent rain will continue in Rarotonga for the next five or so days, according to the Cook Islands Met Service.

Met Service director Arona Ngari told Cook Islands News that the ongoing rain was caused by a number of interacting weather systems.

“The wind is generated by an anticyclone to the South of us, this is in turn squashed between a Northeasterly trough,” Ngari said.

“The weather system is fluctuating between the northern and southern Cook Islands.”

Ngari said it was likely the system would remain for another five days, and heavy wind warnings remained in place.

“You’ve got the high pressure and low-pressure systems squashed between each other and they won’t budge,” he said.

“These sorts of systems are especially common during the cooler months, where you get these blocking highs.”

The rain was persistent, but not necessarily heavy, he said.

“Rainfall was only 12.8mm for Monday and 1.5mm for Tuesday while the 8am reading on Wednesday was 3.1mm. We had the highest rainfall rate of .6mm per hour on 7pm Monday and 3am Tuesday morning. There is bound to be more of this in the coming days,” Ngari said.

Meanwhile, the heavy swell warnings also remain in place, Ngari said, thanks to the high-pressure system.

Ngari said although the swells were heavy, they were unlikely to be as destructive as those that hit the Cook Islands in June and July last year.

“The arrival of the swells got in a low tide as compared to the high tide in the June/July last event,” he said.

Kate Archer, of Ariki Adventures, said they had to cancel all their tours this week.

“It’s so frustrating, but that’s just the hand Mother Nature has dealt us. We’re hoping for the situation to turn around next week, but it’s not looking good at this stage,” Archer said.

Tama Tuavera, of Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruises, said the heavy swells had led to the cancellation of their cruises this week, and the outlook for the next few days was “pretty grim”.

“I feel really sorry for the tourists, they come all this way and they’re not able to do anything. It’s been pretty persistent rain,” Tuavera said.

“Whenever there’s a bad spot of weather in New Zealand, it usually hits the Cook Islands about three days later, and that’s what’s happened here. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had another week of this.”   

However, Kitesup owner-operator Brynn Acheson-Nooroa said they would be “one of the few businesses that actually welcome the wind”.

“It’s been good for kite surfing, so we’ve been steady over the past few days,” Acheson-Nooroa said.