Editorial Comment – Stay safe, pay attention

Fiji Meteorological Service director Ravin Kumar during a press conference in Nadi yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Fiji weather office has forecast sea surges, heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding and has issued a strong wind warning for all land and sea areas of Fiji until tomorrow. Fiji Meteorological Service director Ravind Kumar issued the warning yesterday. Mariners in small vessels, he said, should refrain from venturing out to sea. He has cautioned people and motorists to avoid crossing flooded areas and waterways and has also urged residents in flood and landslide prone areas to take the necessary precautions. Motorists travelling along the Queens Rd along the Coral Coast, he said, should be extra vigilant. A damaging heavy swell warning remained in force for low-lying coastal areas of Kadavu, Beqa, Vatulele, Southern Lau Group, Mamanuca Group, Southern and Western Viti Levu. We should expect 3.5m to 4.5m waves over open waters. This, he said, was likely to cause inundation of low lying coastal areas especially during high tide last night and today. The damaging heavy swells are expected to gradually start easing from tonight though, he said. Mr Kumar forecast heavy rain warning for the country, however, the Yasawa and Mamanuca Groups, eastern and interior parts of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu should expect squally thunderstorms, he said. On land areas, he said, we should expect fresh to strong northeast to southeast winds with average speeds of 40km/hr and gusting to 55km/hr. Members of the public have been advised to take heed of all warnings issued by the weather office. The onus now is on parents and guardians to keep a tab on our young charges. We should stay away from flood-hit areas. We should be vigilant near rivers and other waterways until the system dies down. It is in our best interest that we strictly adhere to instructions from the State. Some people always seem content to test mother nature. Let us follow basic rules and appreciate the fact that when there is trouble, life is never easy for people engaged in rescue efforts. Stay safe and pay attention to advice. Complacency can provide a rude awakening sometimes.