Slow-moving area of active thunderstorms causing widespread flooding in Fiji

Slow-moving area of active thunderstorms causing widespread flooding in Fiji

A slow-moving area of active thunderstorms brought torrential rainfall to Fiji over the last few days, causing widespread flooding and claiming the life of at least one person. The system is expected to remain over the island nation over the next few days while another round of heavy rain approaches with the newly formed Tropical Cyclone "Zena".

The volcanic island of Ono-i-Lau received 236 mm (9.3 inches) of rain in just 12 hours on Monday, April 4. Meanwhile, 208 mm (8.2 inches) was reported in 24 hours in Nadi, on the western side of the main Fiji island of Viti Levu, according to UK's Met Office.

Video courtesy Fijian Government

72-hr rainfall accumulation by 12:00 UTC on April 5, 2016. Credit: NASA/JAXA/Google GPM

More than 3 500 people have been evacuated to 79 evacuation centers, one person is reported dead and another is missing. The north and west of Viti Levu were among the worst-affected areas.

Flooding in Nadi, Fiji on April 4, 2016. Image credit: Sophy Biunimasi / NaDraki Weather Service.

The acting director of the Fiji Meteorological Service, Misaeli Funaki, said there was already flooding in the western and northern divisions, but that was expected to get worse as water moved down from the hills and met an incoming high tide.

"The whole system is anchored over Fiji, and this is going to be the case for the next - even into tomorrow and into the day after. The trough will remain slow moving over us and that will be dumping in more rain as we look ahead," Funaki added.

At the same time, a newly formed Tropical Cyclone "Zena" is expected to track towards Fiji over the next few days, bringing further 250 - 400 mm (9.8 - 15.7 inches) of rain across Vanuatu and Fiji.

Further disruption to the island is likely.

Video courtesy Fijian Government

Flooding in Nadi, Fiji on April 4, 2016. Image credit: Sophy Biunimasi / NaDraki Weather Service

The Nadi River has broken its banks - April 4, 2016. Image credit: Nadi Farmers Club

Tropical Cyclone "Zena" (18P) forecast track by JTWC on April 5, 2016.

Featured image credit: Flooding in Nadi, Fiji on April 4, 2016. Image credit: Sophy Biunimasi / NaDraki Weather Service.

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