Monday, January 28, 2008

Telling it like it is - from Taveuni

from w
A Taveuni writer, Alohabula1, writes it like it is experiencing today's huge storm/cyclone in Taveuni which she felt hours and hours before Fiji's weather bureau even alerted people. Her post is on Fijiboardexiles.
Here is her personal story:
It is amazing to me, I finally e-mailed one of the credible weather sites and said...You need to update your site we are in the midst of a Cat 1 Cyclone. A couple of hours later I guess they finally realized I wasn't a nut, looked on the Satelitte Map and named the darn thing. My Fijian gang heard it on the radio and with their accent I thought they said it was Deena but I guess they named it Gene
From what I can gather from the past experience of 24 hours is that it began as a normal but large tropical storm and then formed into a cyclone over the back side of Taveuni, without an eye. I was watching the Coconut trees etc and they were all leaning heavily to the west, after a few hours I heard the direction of the rumble change and then it came from the Northwest, then all the trees started twirling.
I thought well..this should get interesting, maybe we will greet the eye soon and we can run out and do some things. But it never let up instead the wind shifted and came in from the North and as it moved down the chain. I know we are still experiencing the backside of it at 9:35 in the evening.. We are 24 hours into, the rains are torrential, the winds are still past a gale force in the North and poor Labasa and low lying areas must surely be underwater by now. .
The waves out front are huge, depending if you measure from the back probably 6-8 ft on average, any boats still surviving on moorings will soon be kissed goodbye. But you can't hear the waves over the wind and the rain. There are breakers in places out there I have never seen more than a ripple before, as in way beyond the reef.
This is the part that I don't get, you read the weather report and it always seems to minimize it. I use to be a wind surfer, I do know wind and if it was blowing at 50mph, (80kmh) that was time to throw the rig in the truck and have a great day rooster tailing out there.. I know the gusts which are almost as freguent as a heartbeat were past 100 mph maybe up to 130, there were times today it was bordering a Cat 2. That is not my imagination or me trying to dramatic. I have lived in places where 70mph winds were not out of the norm and nothing to worry about and I have been in worse cyclones in Fiji, but the last two big ones we have had zero warning.
So for the gang on Viti Levu, it has been 24 hours here and counting, so be prepared for a long haul and sustained stress on everything. Sorry I can't be more encouraging, but better to be prepared. The worst is over for the North except for the torrential rain and gale force winds.

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