Winds, Rain, Floods Head Our Way

Heavy rain, strong winds and floods brought by a tropical disturbance could hit the Fiji Group later today. The Tropical Disturbance will deepen and is expected to become a Tropical
14 Dec 2016 11:00
Winds, Rain, Floods Head Our Way
National Disaster Controller and Permanent Secretary for National Disaster Management, Meleti Bainimarama has urged parents to closely monitor the whereabouts of children and keep them away flooded drains or waterways. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

Heavy rain, strong winds and floods brought by a tropical disturbance could hit the Fiji Group later today.

The Tropical Disturbance will deepen and is expected to become a Tropical Depression today.

The Fiji Meteorological Office in Nadi has warned people to be prepared.

Director of Meteorology, Ravind Kumar, said the low pressure system that was responsible for unsettled weather over the long weekend had  now been upgraded to a Tropical Disturbance (TD04F).

Mr Kumar said TD04F was expected to move southeast towards Fiji and enter Fijian waters today and remain slow moving till the weekend.

Labasa and most of the Northern Division are expected to be hit first by  strong winds and rain this afternoon with the Western Division following soon after.

Mr Kumar said with the northerly winds and rain bands converging,

heavy rain was expected in different areas throughout the group with possible extension into the weekend.

Flooding of major tributaries and rivers remain possible.

By yesterday afternoon, a strong wind warning alert was issued for all land areas in Fiji with a similar warning still in force for all Fiji waters.

Tropical Disturbance 04F was located near 12.0S and 177.0E or 50 km north of Rotuma or about 640 km north-northwest of Nadi at 6:42pm yesterday. It is expected to gradually deepen and move towards the group from later today. Associated active rain bands continue to affect the group..

In anticipation of the system to deepen and to move closer to Fiji, the following alerts and warnings were now in force for Fiji:

A heavy rain “Alert” is now in force for whole of Fiji;

A strong Wind Warning is now in force for Land areas of Fiji; and

A Strong Wind Warning remains in force for all Fiji Waters.

Mr Kumar said rain and isolated thunderstorms were expected to continue over most places and become frequent and heavy.

He said the system would remain around the west of Viti Levu till the weekend before moving on a southerly course and this would see a lot of rain being spread around the group.

“The system will produce continuous rain but it may not be continuous but blocks where there would be a heavy downpour.”

Mr Kumar said the recent rain could have saturated the ground and any further rain will wash off into the rivers and could cause flooding.

He said all the major rivers in Fiji had different response times as some would burst their banks before the others.

The strong wind warning, which will be north-westerly, will have average speeds of 40-50km/hr and momentary gusts up to 60km/hr and this could be anticipated over land.

Mariners should expect east to southeast winds with average speeds of 20 to 30 knots and gusting up to 35 knots.

Seas will become very rough and visibility will be poor in areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Mr Kumar said localised heavy rain may lead to flash flooding.

The system will be closely monitored and updates will be provided as any significant changes are observed.

“It is advisable that people are to take all necessary precautions well ahead of start of heavy rain and strong wind.

“Take alerts, warnings and advisories seriously, act responsibly and remain prepared at all times. Keep updated with the latest weather bulletins,” he said.

Edited by Maraia Vula

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