We should listen to advice

Fred Wesley | Friday, February 2, 2018
The Fiji Meteorological Service yesterday sounded a heavy rain warning for the country.

The warning was for the Yasawa and Mamanuca Group, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Lau and the Lomaiviti Group.

A trough of low pressure with associated showers and rain remained slow moving over the Fiji Group yesterday afternoon.

In its forecast issued at 3.38pm yesterday, the weather office said we could expect occasional rain which would be heavy at times, and few thunderstorms over Yasawa and the Mamanuca Group, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Lau and Lomaiviti Group.

It forecast rain to become frequent from last night with occasional showers and thunderstorms elsewhere.

We should also expect isolated heavy falls.

Localised heavy falls, it said, could lead to flash flooding of low-lying areas.

We should also expect moderate to fresh southwest to northwest winds which could be gusty at times.

For mariners, you should expect moderate to rough seas.

The outlook for tomorrow is for occasional rain, heavy at times and a few thunderstorms over most places.

According to the director of the Fiji Meteorological Service Ravind Kumar, heavy rains normally expected at this time of the year will be made worse by king tides expected this weekend.

Yesterday, Mr Kumar and director National Disaster Management Officer Anare Leweniqila told the media it was important that the public stays alert in the next few days.

Mr Kumar said areas such as Rakiraki, Ba and other parts of the Western Division with large rivers and which are considered flood prone would face increased risk as the king tides would block floodwater coming down the waterways from filtering into the ocean.

Mr Leweniqila said while the NDMO was monitoring the situation and had not activated the DISMAC operations yet, it had already set in place necessary first protocols which were to alert all district officers, put emergency services and district level on alert and inform the media.

The Fiji Police Force's chief operations officer Acting ACP Maretino Qiolevu said police officers would move to flood prone areas to ensure the public took necessary precautions.

Such times should inch out a high level of vigilance and safety awareness from people.

It means we should be proactive. We should embrace safety measures, ensure our loved ones are safe and that we do not take unnecessary risks.

It is important that we remain alert and are considerate of the power of mother nature. Some of us have a nasty habit of testing mother nature.

The onus is on parents and guardians to keep a tab on children.

Let us stay away from flood-hit areas. Let us stay away from rivers and other waterways until the system dies down.

It is in our best interest that we strictly adhere to instructions from the State. Remember life is never easy for people engaged in rescue efforts if something goes wrong.

It pays to be prepared. We have clearly been warned.

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