Bad weather warning

Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

On this day back in March, 2013, heavy rain fell across most parts of the country as an active trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain remained slow moving over Fiji.

The weather office issued a heavy rain alert for Fiji then.

People were warned that heavy rain could also cause flash-flooding. Heavy rain was expected with squally thunderstorms and the office expected the weather to clear up by the next afternoon, a Friday.

Heavy rain earlier that week, on Tuesday night, caused flash-flooding in low-lying areas in Nausori and forced the Waidamu River at Vuci South Rd to burst its bank on Wednesday morning.

We are again facing similar weather this week.

A trough of slow moving low pressure over the Fiji Group will continue to bring heavy rain over most parts of the country this week.

Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) director Ravind Kumar said they would not speculate on whether the system would develop into a tropical cyclone.

The weather office, he said, would be monitoring the situation and “letting the public know if anything new comes up”.

A heavy rain warning, he said, was in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands and the northern Lau Group while a heavy rain alert was in force for the rest of Fiji.

He warned flash flooding of low-lying areas could be expected as more rain, heavy at times, has been forecasted.

People have been advised to remain vigilant and heed weather advisories.

Clearly such weather is nothing new for our part of the world.

Unfortunately, whenever flood warnings are issued, there are some people who will still put their lives in danger.

They will wade into flooded low-lying areas, and even dive into swollen rivers.

Curiosity gets the better of some people.

We then wonder why some of us get entangled in worrying situations in the face of natural disasters. We must remind ourselves that we are still in the cyclone season which is from November to April and it is our responsibility to always be prepared. We should be careful and use common sense. For those of us who are in the path of floodwaters, let’s keep a close tab on weather reports and start moving to higher ground when the need arises.

Let us place the safety and wellbeing of all those who matter to us high on our list of priorities.

Flash-floods can be devastating if people are caught unaware.

There is hope that lead-up work to clear drains and waterways near urban centres, and residential areas, have been taken care of by those tasked to do so.

As parents and guardians, let’s a keep a close eye on our children and prioritise safety issues. Those living in low-lying areas should be aware of safe zones, evacuation centres and keep a tab on weather reports.

We must heed advice and take care.

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