Fiji: tidal flooding to abate today

Flooding in Lakeba. Photo: Yanen Prasad

The heavy swells that affected several communities around Fiji early yesterday morning were triggered by a king tide coupled with moderate to heavy swells, according to the Fiji Meteorological Service.

The phenomena affected the coral coast, with reports from Serua, Lakeba and Moce island. According to the scientific officer at Fiji Meteorological Service, Iosefo Cauravouvinaka, “The inundation from the king tide occurs when the orbits and alignment of the earth, moon, and sun combine to produce the greatest tidal effects of the year.”

“Inundation from the wind wave occurs due to friction between strong winds and surface water, and sometimes swells occur due to the energy generated from deep weather systems (low pressure) propagating eastwards along the area of the Tasmanian sea or north of New Zealand,” he said.

The king tide affected communities and hotels along the coral coast. According to Julie Miller, a carer who work closely with the coral coast local community, the sight in some areas was truly sad.

“The village of Vatu-o-lailai next to Naviti Resort was heavily affected. The sovereign shop, nail and massage shops lost their income due to the flood destroying their huts,” Miller says.

“My first reaction was heartbreak as they have been through so much; no food, no work due to COVID and this happened. Those in the villages like this who rely on their huts to live; it’s devastating. They can’t fish to feed their families,” she says.

Yanen Prasad, who is a technical assistant for the Fiji Meteorological Service based in Lakeba, reports minimal damage. He says, “There was just some damage to the roads and water entering some houses, but not that much.”

The tidal flooding, according to Fiji Meteorological Services, is expected to gradually abate later today.

“Communities are advised to be vigilant of potential impacts along coastal communities, such as debris inundation along low-lying coastal areas, particularly during high tides, disruptions of some marine-related recreational activities and livelihoods from breaking waves and rip currents,” Cauravouvinaka says.

People are warned that there is a possibility of small craft capsizing. Fiji Meteorological Services. The tidal chart for the next two days follows.

DateTime (FST)Tide (m)
Thursday 1612.59am0.56
Friday 1701.55am0.6