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Dry season begins, but warnings remain

Wednesday 20 April 2016 | Published in Weather


The cyclone season might be officially over, but the Cook Islands Meteorological Service is still urging people to be on the watch for extreme weather events.

Meteorological Service Director Arona Ngari says no-one should be complacent about the weather, despite the cyclone season coming to an end.

“The official cyclone season in the South Pacific is from November to April, but cyclones are known to occur outside of these months.”

He says with a trough of low pressure slowly moving over the Cook Islands this week, we can expect brief showers to affect the Northern Cooks.

The forecast for the week brings a strong wind warning which will remain in force for Southern Cook waters and land areas as a high pressure system to the far south directs an east to southeast wind flow over an active trough with associated cloud. Rain will remain slow-moving over the Northern Cooks.

Ngari says the Cook Islands’ wet season also ends with the cyclone season. During this time the country gets one-third of its annual rainfall.

According to the Seasonal Climate Outlook for the Cook Islands for April to June, “below normal” rainfall is likely, with a forecast probability of 52 per cent. The chance of “above-normal” rainfall occurring is just 12 per cent, while “normal” rainfall is 36 per cent likely.

Meanwhile, Ngari says the El Nino effects still being felt in the Pacific are bringing dry conditions to the Southern Cook Islands and wet conditions for the Northern Cooks..

According to the climate update, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions weakened in March.

El Niño conditions are still 80 per cent likely to be present from now till June.

All models forecast a return to neutral conditions or a transition to La Niña by July-September.