5 April, 2018, 12:00 am
BE prepared. Just days after floods associated with Tropical Cyclone Josie wreaked havoc across the Western Division, a low pressure system that is developing to the far west of Fiji is likely to intensify into a tropical cyclone that could affect the West by this weekend.
This was the warning from Fiji Meteorological Service director Ravind Kumar.
He issued a special press statement yesterday saying the low pressure system, anticipated to develop to the far west of Fiji, was likely to intensify into a disturbance and possibly into a tropical depression and move closer to Fiji this weekend.
Mr Kumar said the chance of the system developing into a tropical cyclone while remaining to the west of Fiji was high by Sunday. “This system will bring strong to gale force winds and heavy rain and there is a high risk of further flooding in low-lying areas,” he said.
“At this stage we cannot determine the timing, track or intensity but the anticipated track will bring it close to the Western Division.
“And people need to be aware and prepare and not leave things until the last minute.”
Mr Kumar said depending on how far from the group it tracked, the system was likely to bring strong to near gale force winds especially over the northern parts of the group, Yasawa and Mamanuca groups and western Viti Levu.
He said the winds could increase to damaging gale force early next week.
Meanwhile, another active trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain lies slow moving about the northern parts of the Group.
Mr Kumar said it was expected to gradually move south and affect the country from today.
He said occasional rain, heavy at times and squally thunderstorms were expected over the Yasawa Group, Northern Lau Group, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands.
A heavy rain warning remains in force for the Yasawa Group, Northern Lau Group, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands.
A heavy rain alert remains in force for the rest of Fiji.
A flood alert remains in force for low lying areas, small streams and areas adjacent to the major rivers of Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
A strong wind warning remains in force for Yasawa waters, Northern Vanua Levu waters, Kadavu and Vatu-i-Ra passage, Koro Sea and Lau waters.
The Education Ministry issued a press release last night informing parents that schools in the Western Division from Rakiraki to Nadroga Navosa will remain closed until at least Monday, April 9, given the serious impacts of TC Josie on schools, homes and communities throughout Viti Levu.