Monday, March 19, 2018
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Tonga hit by flooding and power cuts

Storms that battered Australia more than a week ago have brought widespread disruption to the Pacific islands.

Tonga is now drying out after several days of torrential rain. In the middle of what is supposed to be the dry season, the rain transformed the capital into a series of lakes.

A total of 273mm of rain was reported at Fua’amotu airport in the 24 hours up until 00GMT on Saturday. According to Tonga Meteorological and Coastal Radio Services, this is the highest June rainfall recorded in the past 36 years of records.

This is more than three times the average of 79mm that is expected in the entire month, and close to the amount of rain that fell from Tropical Cyclone Winston in February, which delivered 294mm of rain to Vava’u in 24 hours.

As well as torrential rain, the weather system also brought strong winds. According to Matangi Tonga Online, these winds tore down trees and power lines and a number of power cuts were reported in western Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga.

This is the same weather system that  pounded eastern Australia over a week ago. The storm did major damage, causing coastal erosion and widespread flooding.

The wet weather has now eased across Tonga and the floodwater is expected to recede in the next few days.

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