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Storm slams Thailand while another heads for Fiji

January 7, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tropical cyclones and storms are bugging tourism destinations in the Asia Pacific, with Thailand weathering an unseasonable storm over the weekend while a tropical cyclone off Fiji is forecast to track directly over Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.

IN THAILAND: Tropical Storm Pabuk barrelled across the Gulf of Thailand but spared most beach resorts. Ferry services and airports in southern Thailand are reported to have reopened.

Air and ferry services were suspended to the island of Koh Samui and the area’s large fishing fleet was ordered to stand down.

Nearly 29,000 people were evacuated in provinces most at risk, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.

IN FIJI: Tropical cyclone Mona is bearing down on the islands, with 632 people reported yesterday to have sought shelter in 15 evacuation centres.

The category one storm has been packing winds gusting up to 120km/h through Sunday and has brought heavy rainfall to much of the country already, leaving a number of roads closed by flooding and slips, Radio New Zealand reported last night.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advised at the weekend Mona “is forecast to track directly over Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. Expect heavy rain and damaging storm force winds over much of Fiji from Saturday 5 January. Monitor local media for updates and follow the instructions of local authorities.”

The Fiji Meteorological Office says Mona is currently tracking east-southeast at about 17km/h and is now expected to skim past Vanua Levu without making landfall and then angle southeastwards through Fiji’s Eastern Division.

Mona is then expected to track south to the Lau Group, before eventually heading southwest out of the Fiji group by late tomorrow (Tuesday 8 January 2019).

South Sea Cruises has suspended many services. It advised this morning  (Monday 7 January 2019):

South Sea Cruises were prepared to depart Port Denarau on time this morning and were then stood down without notice by the Marine Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) until clearance was issued by the National Disaster Management Office. As a result of MSAF providing a delayed clearance all services are delayed this morning.

South Sea Cruises services operating today (Monday 7 January) will be as follows:

  • South Sea Cruises will operate Mamanuca services today on Routes 1,2,4 & 5. Route 1 is delayed 45 minutes and Route 2 delayed by 1 hour. Due to the delays incurred this morning in departing Port Denarau there will be no Route 3 service today. Route 4 & 5 will operate to schedule.
  • Please note all Resort Connection services to the Mamanuca’s for tomorrow, Tuesday 8th of January 2019 will operate as per our normal schedule.
  • All Mamanuca & Yasawa Day Cruises including South Sea Island & Malamala Beach Club remain suspended today however will resume full operations again tomorrow, Tuesday 8th of January 2019. On this basis, Reservations are now accepting new bookings for all Day Cruises tomorrow to both the Mamanuca’s & Yasawa’s.
  • The only exception to the above Day Cruises being Seaspray Day Adventure which will resume on Wednesday 9th of January 2019 to allow the sea conditions to settle.
  • Please continue to monitor resort notice boards, social media feeds or our South Sea Cruises websites for the latest updates. For those wanting to amend travel dates and/or their travel arrangements please contact South Sea Cruises Reservations as per the details below.
  • Unless services are further disrupted, or weather & sea conditions change this will be the final advisory issued for the Mamanuca’s in regard to TC Mona.

Fiji’s Meteorological Office advised yesterday (Sunday 6 January 2019).

The following alerts and warnings are currently in force:

  • A “Gale Warning” remains in force for Yasawa and Mamanuca group and western half of Vanua Levu.
  • A “Tropical Cyclone Alert” remains in force for the rest of Fiji.
  • A “Strong Wind Warning” remains in force for all land areas and waters of Fiji.
  • A “Heavy Rain Warning” remains in force for the whole of Fiji Group.
  • A “Flood Warning” remains in force for all low-lying areas, small streams and areas adjacent to major rivers of Fiji, low-lying areas and areas adjacent to Sabata Station and downstream of Navua Town,  low-lying  areas  adjacent  to  Navua  Bridge  Station  and  downstream  of  Navua  River,  low-lying areas
  • and small streams adjacent to and downstream of Naqali Station.
  • A “Flood Alert” a flood alert remains in force for low-lying areas and areas adjacent to Labasa Civic Station and downstream of Labasa Town.
  • With  rivers  being  at  medium  to  high  flows, soil  already  saturated  and  more  rain  predicted,  the chances of flooding of low-lying and flood-prone areas is high. Sea flooding of low-lying coastal areas and damaging heavy swells is also anticipated.
  • The Northern, and Eastern coastlines are at high risk of inundation by combined effect of wind stress, heavy swells, storm surge and high tide.
  • All communities  living  in  low  coastal,  flood  prone  and  low  lying  areas  are  reminded  to remain alert and take all necessary precautions, similarly  for those living in landslide-prone  areas.

Written by Peter Needham

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