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Belated Start To Cyclone Season With More Expected




Details of future seasonal climate trends provided to Pacific Island governments by NIWA (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) have enabled crop growers and pearl farmers in the Cook Islands to lessen the impact of extreme weather events. The tropical cyclone season has started, and more are expected in the South Pacific.

Predictions of tropical downpours in January were realised but in the light of warnings many farmers had changed plantings to species less susceptible to excess water. As a result farms recovered quickly from flooding that accompanied 200 mm of rainfall during a six hour period at Rarotonga.

Predictions for both the northern and southern Cook Islands were heeded by pearl and agricultural farmers while estimates of cyclone risks enabled developers on coastal areas to enhance and renovate their properties, according to Mr A Ngari, a Director of the Cook Islands Meteorological Services.

Janita Palahad, Manager Climate Services for the Fiji Meteorological Service, said information contained in NIWA’s “Island Climate Update” had economic and social benefits for the affected countries, while the Tonga Meteorological Services referred to the role of the publication in disaster reduction and preparedness.

The comments of Pacific Island officials were received by NIWA as part of a review of the Island Climate Update following six months of publication.

The March update warns that after the latest start to the tropical cyclone season in the past 30 years, more are expected. The greatest risk is between Vanuatu and Fiji. There is also still a chance of a remnant tropical cyclone bringing strong winds and heavy rain to New Zealand’s northeastern coasts during March and April. To date this season four have occurred in the South Pacific.


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