HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 596: 29 December2011

Rough seas, wind, rain but no cyclone
Winds and heavy rain of almost storm force affected Rarotonga early Wednesday morning causing surface flooding and blowing over trees with especially banana trees suffering worst.
Since early Wednesday morning the Meteorological station had been receiving calls from concerned residents about the hurricane looking weather. “We did get quite a few calls today to assure people that it is not a tropical cyclone,” said Vaiimene.
The weather is caused by an active trough with an associated low pressure system that was lying to the far west of Rarotonga since Christmas day and moved close to Rarotonga around 10pm Tuesday evening through the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The area most exposed to the winds was from the Northwest to the Western side of Rarotonga or from Arorangi to the Titikaveka side. High, rough seas and heavy rain was also experienced during this time.
Wind speed averaged 46km/hr gusting to 83km/hr and numerous concerned people made contact with the weather office regarding this very stormy weather. The low pressure system does not pose a threat to becoming a tropical cyclone and the met service will continue to monitor the weather during this festive season.
A strong wind warning was issued for the Southern Cook Islands from late Sunday, Christmas day and is still in force for the Southern Cook Islands. The Meteorological team received reports of the storm from Niue which was hit first by the storm on Monday. “Niue received the same strong winds and heavy rains as Rarotonga, we do not see any reason to issue a warning to stay indoors but there should be no one swimming in the sea, due to rough seas,” said Vaiimene.
The low pressure system is moving slowly to the southeast of Rarotonga towards Mangaia. The rain clouds are expected to remain on Rarotonga over the next couple of days, extending to Mangaia, Ngaputoru and Aitutaki later in the week. -Tiare Ponini

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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