WEATHER OFFICE WARNS OF RISK OF TROPICAL CYCLONES

Government is urging all Fijian to remain alert and be prepared at all times as we approach the cyclone season.

Speaking at a press conference today, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport permanent secretary, Francis Kean said there was a moderate possibility for two to three tropical cyclones to pass through Fiji waters with one likely to reach Category Three or above.

Mr Kean said there was a high probability that these cyclones would pass close to or above the Northern and Eastern parts of Fiji.

?Everyone should remain alert and be prepared at all times throughout the season. It is critical that communities across Fiji act responsibly and pay close attention to weather forecasts, warnings and advisories issued by the weather office and Government,? Mr Kean said.

He said for the region, the risk is elevated with 10 ? 14 tropical cyclones predicted to occur within Fiji?s area of responsibility in the 2015/16 season with 4 -8 cyclones predicted to reach Category Three and 3 ? 7 predicted to reach Category Four or Five status.

?These are predictions to give the public a general idea about what to expect in the upcoming cyclone season and not definite numbers. It is expected that the total number of tropical cyclones will be in the vicinity of the values, and not necessarily within the given range.

?Based on the latest information, the risk of tropical cyclones occurrences is highly elevated for Solomon Islands, Wallis and Fortuna, Tokelau, Samoa, Northern Cooks, French Polynesia, an elevated risk is predicted for Vanuatu, Fiji, Niue and Southern Cooks while normal risk is expected for New Caledonia, Tuvalu and Tonga.

?The risks of severe cyclones are highly elevated this season for northern Cook Islands and French Polynesia, elevated for Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Fiji , Wallis and Fortuna, Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga, Niue and southern Cook Islands and normal for Solomon Islands and New Caledonia,? Mr Kean added.

Meanwhile, the current El Nino conditions point to the development and strengthening of a tropical cyclone for the 2015/2016 season to lie mainly to the east of the International Dateline.

Director Fiji Meteorological Service, Ravind Kumar said an assessment after the passage of the Tropical depression over the weekend, showed the Northern and Eastern parts Fiji continue to face dry spell.

?For the next three months, the prediction is that we will continue to experience dryer than normal conditions,? Mr Kumar said.

?As we go into the wet season or into the tropical cyclone season, incidents of rain will increase. However, the amount of rain we expect to get in November and December will not be that much.?

People have been urged to take heed of Water Authority of Fiji?s advisory and continue to use water sparingly.

DEPTFO