The Kingdom of Tonga was hit by an exceptionally heavy, unseasonal rainfall and very strong winds on June 10 and 11, 2016, causing heavy flooding in the Pacific nation and turning the capital Nuku’alofa in a city of lakes. The severe weather, brought by the same storms that battered Australia more than a week ago, caused major damage, coastal erosion, and widespread flooding. It did, however, bring some relief to the drought-stricken country.
Fua’amotu airport recorded 273.1 mm (10.75 inches) of rainfall in the 24 UTC hours of Friday, June 10, according to the Tonga Meteorological Services. In the last 36 years of records, no rainfall for a 24 hour period in June has exceeded this amount, Matangi Tonga Online reports.
This is more than three times above the rainfall expected for the whole month of June – when total monthly rainfall historically averages around 79 mm (3.11 inches). It was also approaching the record rainfall levels for the year brought to Tonga by the Tropical Cyclone "Winston" in February 2016 when 293.8 mm (11.56 inches) fell in Vava’u in a 24 hour period. TC Winston formed in Tonga's wet season, but this record-breaking storm came in the middle of what was suppose to be the dry season.
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